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Exploring Shanghai: Deep Water Port to the Top of Shanghai; By Vithiyapathy Purushothaman (李拯)

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Article No. 050/2019

On October 12, 2019, as a part of the Doctoral Forum “Experiencing China – Dialogue on the Maritime Silk Road”, visited Yangshan Deep Sea Port, later visited the Huangpu river cruise area and Shanghai Tower – Top of Shanghai. East China Normal University hosted the doctoral scholars at the Institute of Eco-Chongming located at Chongming Island, Shanghai. On the second day of the program, ECNU organized the field visit to the world’s biggest automated container terminal at Yangshan Deepwater port. One who travels from Chongming Island to Yangshan Port will experience the infrastructure marvel of China that includes bridges, tunnels, and wind farms at the shores. While crossing Donghai Bridge, it exhibits 102 MW wind farms located at 杭州湾 (Hangzhou Bay).

Yangshan Deep Water Port: World’s Biggest Automated Container Terminal

Yangshan Deepwater port (洋山深水港) is located 27.5 km offshore in the Hangzhou Bay south of Shanghai. The giant six-lane Donghai bridge (东海大桥) connects the port. The port is located at the intersection of the Maritime Silk Road and Yangtze River economic zone. Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) undertook the historical mission and strived to be the vanguard of reform and opening up by deepening the Yangtze River Strategy, the Northeast Asia Strategy, and the Internationalization Strategy and by extending its port areas from the river to the sea. As a core project of the Shanghai International Shipping Center as well as a major part of China (Shanghai) Free trade Zone, Yangshan Deepwater port went live in 2005 and has assisted the port of Shanghai to rank first in the world on container throughputs for several years consecutively since 2010. Notably, Shanghai Port Container Throughput is 40 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) in 2017. The port established trade relations with 500 ports around the world. As a part of innovation and development drive, it constructed the intelligent, green and technologically efficient port. The operation of the Shanghai Yangshan Phase IV automated terminal represents a milestone in the upgrade and development of equipment manufacturing, technology application, integrated innovation and operation mode.

Shanghai automated Phase IV terminal is located on the west side of the Yangshan deep-water port and sits on the reclaimed land of neighboring islands at Dawugui (大乌龟). The construction has officially begun in December 2014. It opened the trial operation in December 2017. Shanghai Yangshan Phase IV automated terminal(上海洋山四期自动化码头)is the largest automated container terminal worldwide as well as one of the most advanced in comprehensive automated technology. This is the persistent evolution of technology and innovation. The port is automated in container loading and intelligent in production. The project uses automated handling equipment designed and manufactured in China. It is fully automated horizontal transportation, truck handling as well as stacking and handling. The machinery used in loading and unloading, including a bridge crane, an automated guided vehicle (AGV) and a rail-mounted gantry crane, are all made in China by 上海振华重工(集团)股份有限公司 (Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company Limited). The fourth phase of the Yangshan Port initially is able to handle 4 million TEUs. Upon completion, as targeted in 2020, the number will expand to 6.3 million TEUs at a later stage containing 26 bridge cranes, 120 rail-mounted gantry cranes and 130 AGVs at the port. The total terminal land area is 2.23 million M2 (223 ha) with a Quay length of 2350 meters. The Yard will contain 61 automated blocks and 8 non-automated blocks.

Operation of Shanghai Yangshan Phase IV automated terminal is conducted by remote-control double-trolley quay cranes, automated guided vehicles and automated stacking cranes. On the waterfront, double trolley cranes pick up and drop off containers. Main trolleys are in remote control and portal trolleys are fully automated. Two trolleys interact through the platform Lifted Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) are the new horizontal transportation devices and interact with seaside racks through hydraulic lifting platforms. The yard layout is vertical to the wharf apron. Yard handling is conducted by three different kinds of Automated Stacking Cranes (ASC) collaboratively. In order to better work under different types of operation. The background system collects and sorts out all the instructions and information, inputs them into the computer. Then, the intelligent system turns them into operation instructions and sends them to the operational equipment.  Further, the unmanned operational equipment achieves and sage automated operation. The SPSS, SDS and TDS systems of the quay crane combined with operation commands may precisely locate the trolley through laser scanning and assist the remote controller in more accurate handling and realize the fully-automation of the second trolley. AGVs are self-navigated by more than 60,000 underground transponders. AGV can be quickly positioned and automatically navigated. AGV can automatically drive into the battery exchange station (BES). AGV may automatically be navigated. It is driven by lithium batteries. When the power is low, AGVs may automatically drive into the Battery Exchange station (BES) then the robot will conduct the exchanges. With the auto-landing system, the laser scanners on the ASCs may scan and correct in real-time. Seaside ASCs are the first worldwide to work in twin modes. Landside ASCs may realize automatic operation by detecting the three-dimensional positions of the trucks. The extensive usage of automatic technology ensures the unmanned, efficient, reliable and safe operation in the Shanghai Yangshan Phase IV automated terminal.

Quay Crane (QC)

  1. Double-trolley structure: main trolley in remote control, portal trolley in full automation

  2. Platform: instruction area of main and portal trolley and for coning operation.

Automation Stacking Crane (ASC)

  1. Fully automated

  2. Standard, single-side cantilever, and both-side cantilever ASCs work in collaboration to improve efficiency.

Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV)

  1. Guided by transponders

  2. Hydraulic lifting platform

  3. 8-hour running powered by lithium battery

  4. Fully automated battery exchange system ensuring 24-hour operations.

Terminal operation system (TOS) is the brain of the Shanghai Yangshan Phase IV automated terminal and is the control center of all automated equipment. It is independently developed by SIPG. TOS plays a leading role in the revolutionary transportation from labor-intensive to automated and intelligent connected to all major information platform of the Shanghai port. It performs highly efficient planning, scheduling, and equipment dispatching. It is mastering the remote control of ship handling, unmanned yard handling and horizontal transportation, improving the working environment and reducing labor intensity. TOS continuously optimizes the operation and dispatching mode of Shanghai Yangshan Phase IV terminal raises port logistics efficiency improves customer service and promotes trade development. The truck driver makes an appointment through the Shanghai port e-platform beforehand. After gate-in, auto-check loaded truck backs to the landside lane of the designated block. By interacting with the kiosk, the container is then delivered into the yard by the landside ASC and to AGV by the seaside ASC. Next, beneath the quay crane back reach automated portal trolley picks up the container from AGV to the platform. Finally, the container is loaded on board by the main trolley which finishes the workflow of the export container. Import containers go through the opposite process flow.  SIPG is working in accordance with the principle of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. It is actively serving the major national strategies of China such as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Further visited Xia Lata Island (小垃塌岛) for sightseeing and view other terminals of the port. While returning once again enjoyed the view of Danghai wind farm standing tall on both sides of the Donghai bridge appeared like a soldier guarding the bridge.

Huangpu River Cruise Tour

Huangpu River is the mother river of Shanghai which originates from Lake Taihu and flows through Shanghai city. It finally reaches the Yangtze river in Wusong port. The length of the river is 114 km that divides Shanghai into two parts where the east part of Huangpu river is called Pudong and the west part of the Huangpu river is called Puxi.  Huangpu River Cruise tour(黄浦江巡游) presented the glory of Pudong area. The cruise began its navigation from Shi Liu Pu Wharf Commercial Centre.

The excursion is 60km which projects the splendid view of Lujiazui, Shanghai Jinmao Mansion, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Tower, Waibaidu Bridge, Monument of the People’s Heroes in Shanghai and The Bund. Finally, returned back to the same location. While sailing in the cruise boat, noticed the river traffic which contains cargo ships loaded with containers in some and others carry sand and other construction materials. In the place Shi Liu Pu commercial area, presently there are four underground road tunnels (Fuxing E Road Tunnel, Renmin Road Tunnel, Yan’an E Road tunnel, Xinjian E Road tunnel, and Dalian Road tunnel), four underground metro lines pass that pass through this river making it unique. While walking on the shores of Huangpu river, the sight of Oriental Pearl TV tower recalled the memories of my first China Thinktank delegation visit in 2017 which is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, China.  During the visit of the Oriental Pearl TV tower, have noticed the gigantic Shanghai tower standing tall and submerged between the cloud. Now, looking at the Shanghai Tower has extended the day further. to see the glorious eye of Shanghai.

Shanghai tower

Shanghai Tower is located in the central area of Lujiazui, Pudong District covering over 30,000 square meters. Previously, visited Oriental Pearl TV Tower (1,152ft) in 2017, Anhui broadcasting center (905.52ft) and Canton TV tower (1,982 ft) in 2019. This is my fourth tower to visit in China. Shanghai tower in Chinese is called as上海中心 that literally means Shanghai Center. Shanghai Tower or Shanghai Center is 2073ft height, becomes the second tallest Skyscraper in the world next to Burj Khalifa. It is a multi-function building that includes five major functional areas such as International standard Class A office space, special conference center, retail mall, observation desk and a luxury 5-star hotel. The office floors are ideal for the financial service industry and regional headquarters of multinational corporations. It’s a mega-tall building as per the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). It is also known as Top of Shanghai(上海之巅). Shanghai Tower is the tallest green building. It contains 21 sky gardens in the building to relax. and contains the tallest sky garden museum.  It contains the tallest swimming pool with a view and the luxurious hotel lobby, highest restaurant and five-star hotel. It holds the tallest wind turbines. It is China’s first building rising over 600 meters. At the top of Shanghai, there stands a big green tree, embracing the first Ray of Morning sun on the city of magic. Three pillars upholding greenery symbolizing Green, Smart, Cultural Future in the landmark of Shanghai. It also contains the biggest patio garden banquet hall. Notably, the footstone of Shanghai tower is 945ft underground is said to have 110 million years of history.

The basement B1F welcomes the visitors by displaying the Growing skyline animation short film. It projects the evolution and development of Pudong, since 1840. The animated video showcases the growth of buildings and skyscrapers in this area which making Lujiazui as an important financial center in Shanghai. Charm of Shanghai exhibition area exhibits different architectural style buildings since Song dynasty, which describes tianzifang, ShiKuMen, Male Villa and 1933 old factory building. Further, Skyscrapers dream illustrates the evolution of towers around the world. The history of Skyscrapers is a progression of the world’s tallest buildings. It displays the profile of buildings and skyscrapers since 1885, from Chicago home insurance building (1885) which is 181ft height till Burj Kalifa (2010) in Dubai which is 2717ft height. The interactive screen displays the models of five famous building models such as Burj Khalifa, The Shard, the new World trade center and Taipei 101. The exhibition then displays the measurement of tall building heights and functions as per the definitions of CTBUH. It describes the classifications of the Height to Architectural Top, Height to highest occupied floor, height to top, Supertall and Mega-tall buildings. Follows, the characteristics of Skyscraper cities. The tall building characteristics describes the differentiation between building vs tower as well as Single-function vs mixed-use. Finally, it displays the list of tallest 20 in Asia and Future tallest 20. Shanghai Central Gene bank contains a colorful orientation digital model of the story of Shanghai tower. It shows the whole process from planning to construction. The world’s biggest 3D printing model is also displayed in this area which is none other than the Shanghai tower. It is said to be printed in 720 hours.

The Super-speed world’s fastest shuttle elevator of Shanghai Tower accelerates to 18 meters per second to reach the top of Shanghai observatory on the 118th floor (1792 ft). It reaches this height within 55 seconds to enjoy the panoramic view of Shanghai city. It holds the Guinness world record for its speed. The elevator is designed by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Japan) and installed at Shanghai tower on 7 July 2016.

Top of Shanghai Observatory at 118th floor (1792ft) is offering a spectacular 360-degree view of Shanghai city. The wall glasses carry the hint of the view and the tall buildings which can be seen from there.  Being the tallest building in Shanghai the observatory provides the panoramic view where we could go around to see the beauty of Huangpu river, Waibaidu Bridge, the Bund, Peace Hotel, Old Customs House, Town God Temple,  Nanpu Bridge, Lupu Bridge, Shanghai World Financial center (1614.17 ft) where the visiting height is 1556 ft. Jin mao tower (1116ft), Yangpu bridge and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.  Further, the lift takes to the 125th floor from the 118th floor to reach the height of 2074ft.

Eye of Shanghai: The exhibition area at the 125th floor displays eight world-renowned super high-rise buildings and the theories for their wind and earthquake vibration resistance. It distinguishes structure-based wind resistance and equipment-based wind resistance. Notably, among the eight super high-rise buildings, Taipei 101 uses passive damper whereas Shanghai World Financial Centre and Shanghai tower use half-passive damper system. The damper method used in Shanghai Tower is the world’s first eddy current tuned mass damper. The sensors placed in the building collects the data about the waggle of the building to be processed by the computer-controlled system. These pattern readers then command the damper to ease the waggle during the typhoon. Remarkably, it is the first high rise to have a cloud computing data center and Asia’s biggest capacity diesel generator to succeed in this objective. 125th and 126th floor demonstrate the advanced technology which helps to stabilize the mega-tall tower. The Damper comprises 4 parts – 12 slings a mass block, a damper system and a major structure protective system. This non-contact damper has advantages of zero-friction good durability and high sensitivity. Mass block and sling constitute a huge physical pendulum that can effectively reduce the swaying motion of the building through the sympathetic vibration with the main structure. With its weight up to 1000 tonnes, it is dubbed the largest one in the world. With all these construction marvels, the tower received Tien-yow Jeme Civil Engineering Price of 2018.

Thus, explore the depth and heights of Shanghai during this visit in October 2019, which will cherish in the memories until the next visit. Will Shanghai have a new Skyscraper during my next visit in the upcoming years. China’s infrastructure marvels will know the answer.

(Mr. Vithiyapathy Purushothaman, Ph.D. scholar, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Hefei, PRC, Former Research Officer, C3S; and Associate Member, C3S.)

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