Ports of Auckland have today taken the decision to temporarily expand manual operations at the container terminal and reduce the scale of automated operations.
The container terminal is now being reconfigured for increased manual operations.
We have made this decision following an incident in the automated area in the early hours of Thursday, 17 June.
At around 03:00, a software fault resulted in a container which was being carried by an automated straddle, hitting a stacked container.
At no stage were any people at risk thanks to the geofence safety system in the automated terminal, however, we believe that in different circumstances there could be a safety risk.
While this appears to be a very small possibility, we are not prepared to continue automated operations until that risk has been fully investigated and any necessary safety controls put in place.
Given the supply chain problems globally and locally, we have decided, in the interests of the New Zealand importers and exporters, that until automated operations can be fully restored, we will increase the scale of our manual operation to keep freight moving. The smaller automated area will still allow us to continue with system development and any necessary safety checks.
At this stage we do not know how long it will take to make the necessary changes and we are working with our overseas suppliers to get them in place as soon as possible.
We are committed to completing automation. Automation is important for the future, to provide the capacity Auckland needs for its continuing growth without the need to reclaim more harbour.
Automating a terminal while continuing to operate is complex and difficult. We always knew there would be challenges as we implemented the world’s first hybrid terminal, but we also know that the current problem will be overcome, and we look forward to fully automating the terminal in the future.