| Written by Paul Hebrard

Container terminal operations are an essential component of the global supply chain industry. They help to facilitate the transfer of goods from one mode of transport to another, such as from ships to trucks or trains. However, this process has traditionally been burdened by manual labor, making it time-consuming, unsafe, and unsustainable in the long run. The need to improve efficiency, safety, and sustainability in container terminal operations has led to the adoption of semi-automation technologies.

Terminal Tracker is a crucial ingredient to create a semi-automated port. The objective is to improve container terminal operations to their full potential. Our video explains the principles, and the TTI Algeciras use case shows how things are done in reality.

Improving container terminal operations


In just ten years, TTI Algeciras became one of the Top10 performing container terminals worldwide. Their relentless focus on process optimization and a committed workforce helped them become a very successful player in the international shipping industry.

Well, how did they do it?


The need for better container terminal operations

Container terminals are dealing with increasing demands in volume, time and service as the shipping industry continues to expand. To keep up with these rising expectations, operations became more efficient, safe and productive. Identec Solutions offers technologies and practices tailored to help container terminals reach their goals of improved performance. By incorporating semi-automation, process improvements and sustainable practices, as well as data analysis tools, Identec Solutions is ready to assist in making operations more efficient, safe and productive. Let's have a look at the main drivers of better container terminal operations:


As container terminal operations become more complex, semi-automation can help streamline processes and increase performance. Semi-automation allows for greater flexibility in operations due to its use of automated controls and manual functions. The combination of automation with manual control provides a balance between efficiency and safety. By reducing human error and increasing the speed at which containers are handled, semi-automation can improve container terminal productivity and keeping the flexibility needed in container terminal operations. 

Process Improvements for Enhancing Performance

To maximize container terminal performance, process improvements must be implemented. These include improved planning of resources, efficient management systems and better use of existing technology. By making the most of available resources, container terminals can reach their desired performance levels much faster.

Sustainable Practices for Container Terminals

Sustainable practices are essential in order to reduce environmental impacts and increase efficiency in container terminal operations. These include utilizing renewable energy sources, reducing waste, improving logistics and working with suppliers to promote sustainable solutions. With a focus on sustainability, container terminals can achieve greater operational efficiency while also protecting the environment.

Data Analysis: Gaining Valuable Insights into Operations

Data analysis tools can provide valuable insights into the container handling process. By utilizing data from sources such as sensors, RFID tags and other automated systems, terminal operators can gain a better understanding of how operations are performing. This information can be used to optimize processes, identify potential areas for improvement and reduce costs.

Sustainable Practices: Enhancing Efficiency and Productivity

Sustainable solutions are essential for reducing environmental impacts, improving efficiency and increasing productivity in container terminals. By implementing energy efficient technologies, utilizing renewable energy sources and working with suppliers to promote sustainable practices, terminal operators can make operations more efficient without sacrificing performance or safety. 




The implementation of semi-automation in container terminal operations offers a variety of advantages, including increased flexibility, efficiency, safety, and compliance, and reduced environmental impact. However, there are also several challenges associated with semi-automation, including the costs of implementation, potential impacts on workforce, and maintenance and upgrade requirements.

To fully realize the benefits of semi-automation, it is recommended that container terminal operators carefully evaluate their specific operational needs and challenges, and design and plan for implementation accordingly. This should include a thorough assessment of the costs, benefits, and potential risks associated with semi-automation, as well as consideration of the potential impacts on workforce, and strategies for ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

To improve efficiency, safety, and sustainability in container terminal operations, it is also important for operators to adopt a holistic approach that considers all aspects of their operations, from equipment design and maintenance to workforce training and development. This may include investing in new technologies and equipment that improve efficiency and reduce waste, implementing training and education programs for workers to ensure adherence to safety standards, and prioritizing environmental sustainability in all aspects of operations.

In addition, collaboration between container terminal operators, industry associations, and government agencies will play a critical role in advancing the adoption of semi-automation and improving efficiency, safety, and sustainability in container terminal operations. This includes sharing best practices and knowledge, promoting innovation, and working towards common goals that benefit both the industry and society as a whole.

The future of container terminal operations lies in the adoption of semi-automation, which offers significant advantages in terms of efficiency, safety, and sustainability. While there are challenges associated with implementation, careful planning and collaboration can help ensure success and a more sustainable future for the industry.

TTI Algeciras Container Yard Operations Success Story

Improved container terminal operations at TTI Algeciras

TTI Algeciras was not built as a fully-automated container terminal (read more about port automation challenges). Instead, flexibility and efficiency as the paramount objectives lead to a semi-automated port concept. The core of semi-automation is a Position Detection System (PDS) that informs the TOS real-time about current container positions. It's a clever concept: the last known position of a container is stored in the TOS, and every move updates the TOS automatically. No containers damaged or lost, no time wasted searching.

It is a delicate balance between semi-automation and full automation: To what degree of flexibility do you want to run your container terminal operations? At TTI Algeciras, it was the right decision to automate repetitive, monotone tasks that demanded high accuracy and reliability but improve process performance constantly by enhancing possibilities and changing the way things are done in port.

Miguel Angel Sanchez from TTI Algeciras: “And this is exactly why we chose Terminal Tracker. In our operational model, we needed to close the missing link between the automated processes in the yard and the non-automated, driver-related jobs. That was crucial. Without Terminal Tracker, we would not have been able to be ready for our first vessel, which arrived on time and was served successfully. The first of many to come”.

Our latest animated video explains how semi-automation works and what role Terminal Tracker, our port automation solution, plays in an efficient, reliable container terminal. Planning, operations and monitoring go hand-in-hand with a successful terminal - like TTI Algeciras.

Read more about TTI Algeciras and download the case study for free



Identec Solutions is helping container terminals improve their operations by offering semi-automation, process improvement solutions and data analysis tools. With the help of these services, as well as emphasizing sustainable practices, container terminals can achieve greater efficiency and productivity while ensuring safe handling of containers. For more information on how Identec Solutions is helping to improve Container Terminal Operations contact us today! 

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Case Study TTI Algeciras