The Basics of the Container Unloading Process

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The Basics of the Container Unloading Process

Large container ships are constantly moving around the world, taking millions of tons of cargo with them every day. This is an important stream of transport that practically keeps the world running. We are all aware of the recent Suez Canal incident and its impact on the global economy. While that part of the equation is certainly the most important, you cannot ignore the second most important step which is container unloading.

Every time a ship comes into a port, a complex process takes place to ensure that the large containers are all processed in a way that everything gets to its intended destination. Read on to find out more about how the container unloading process takes place so you may make your own shipments faster.

The Port Landing Process

As soon as the ship arrives in port and is docked, specialized container cranes get into action and start the container unloading. Technically speaking, unloading involves placing containers in their appropriate spots, be it on the port itself or on any type of vehicle or mode of transport. The cranes that do this process are massive and specially designed to handle containers daily. Some ports also have automated cranes which means there are no human operators needed and everything is done automatically.

Registry and Storage

Container unloading basics

The next step in the container unloading process is the registry and storage of the containers that were just received by the port. The registry is extremely important as there needs to be an intact paper trail for the container until it reaches its destination. Once the registry is complete, the container is sent to the storage area on the port, where it is added to a predetermined stack in a predetermined spot. This is a completely planned system that makes it extremely easy to manage. Imagine having to find a container among thousands and not knowing where it is located.

The Role of AGVs

AGV stands for Automated Guided Vehicles. These are special transport vehicles that do not require a driver to move them around. They run using PLC controllers and make the entire process of container unloading much more manageable by sorting and storing containers flawlessly. They are an extension to the function provided by ASCs or Automated Stacking Cranes. Together, the two provide a non-stop storage and transport system within the port that is much more efficient and faster than what any human would be capable of.

Different Ports Different Processes

The thing to keep in mind here is that while many of these container unloading processes are standardized, there are still massive differences in how each port handles cargo. There is a different type of solution being implemented at each port and they do things the way they see fit. That means one must comply with the specific requirements of the port they are sending containers to. Of course, with the global economy getting more and more connected every day, we see a faster rate of standardization being introduced in the container unloading process, which seems to be the most resource-heavy task at any port.

Summing Up

The thing that you must be wondering at this point is how you can benefit from this knowledge. Perhaps the most obvious takeaway from this is the fact that the better understanding you have of a specific port’s container unloading process, the quicker you can get your containers to their desired destinations. Each place operates differently and as a customer or business owner, it is upon us to figure out how to get the best solution for ourselves. For frequent international shippers, this could also be a big game-changer for their business if used properly.