Worldwide deployment of automated guided vehicles (AVGs) in seaports are expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 26 percent to exceed 150,000 units by 2027, according to ABI Research.
AVGs are used in ports to transport containers and loads/unloads ships.
“Automation enhances the reliability, consistency, predictability, and security of port operations. From an environmental perspective, automation can lead to lower energy consumption and a reduced carbon footprint. Automated ports are also far safer than conventional ports. The number of human-related disruptions falls as performance becomes more predictable with automation and data capture solutions,” said Adhish Luitel, Senior Analyst of Supply Chain Management and Logistics at ABI Research.
Besides AGVs, other automation solutions for the global supply chain such as rail, air, and road are also experiencing growth.
Automaton solution providers such as ThorDrive, Waygate Technologies, Loccioni, and Advanced Logistics Systems have been providing various automation solutions such as elevating transfer vehicles, ground tugs, inspection robots, and surveillance systems.
Inspection robots in rail infrastructure particularly is a growing sector. More than 7,000 inspection robots were deployed in rail infrastructure globally in 2021. This number is set to exceed 12,000 by 2027 with a CAGR of nearly nine percent, falling in line with the rising rail freight volume.
Around 14 billion tonnes were transported via rail freight and this number is set to grow to nearly 16 billion by 2027.
“Automation in various modalities, despite its benefits, can also bring certain drawbacks supply chain managers might need to mitigate. Although automation can streamline workflows, they come at the cost of initial potential productivity losses that come with equipping workers with the right skillsets to operate and maintain these solutions. So, there is a change management aspect that managers and authorities need to be more mindful about,” said Luitel.
Photo: Samuel Wölfl