Day 10, July 4, 2019

Despite today being Independence Day back home, we were instead focused on the long and interesting day ahead of us. Today we were scheduled to tour the world's most advanced container terminal in the world, that being Mærsk ‘s APM Maasvlakte 2 terminal. At around 0945 we arrived and after making our way through security, we went into a very large conference room where our host, Port captain Eddo Izinga gave us an interesting presentation on the workings of the terminal. He described all the world class equipment they had at the facility and the process that they took when building it not even a decade ago. With some great visual aids, he showed us just how APM operates the terminal to be the best in the world. He explained the keen focus to efficiency and flexibility, as well as the overwhelming value of automation. The terminal focuses on removing the human element in specific areas such as the ship to shore transfer, as well as the organization of containers on the shoreside. The terminal utilizes some very interesting machines called Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) that can hold a contained-on top of it and follow a very specific route to be the container where it needs to go. All together this terminal operates around 45 of these AGVs. In addition to this, Maasvlakte operates 10 massive gantry cranes for moving containers to and from the ship. These are partially automated, remotely controlled from a control room, the operator is able to work the crane from the comfort of an office. In addition to all of this, the AGVs deliver the containers to a “stacking crane”. These are large rectangular cranes that ride on rails and straddle the container they service. The AGV brings a container to these cranes and the automated stackers organizes the cargo as well as move cargo to the trucks to be taken away.

All of this operates with very strict tolerances, with an immense focus on efficiency.

After departing from Maasvlakte, we made our way to the Maritime Museum which is just a short walk from the StayOkay. The students and I all went through the museums “offshore experience” which simulates the work of an offshore rig. The museum was a very interesting experience and after about 2 hours the students made their way back home to StayOkay.

Group inside building with large shaded windows listening to someone giving a lecture