New terminal design increases efficiency for shipping company
The Hanjin Shipping Company is among the world's fastest-growing ocean shipping lines, serving major ports on six continents. With the growth of Trans-Pacific trade, the shipping company projected the need to eventually move 500,000 containers a year at the Port of Long Beach. To accomplish this goal, they relocated their terminal from a 57-acre site to a 170-acre site.
To remain competitive, productivity enhancements would have to be incorporated as well as the ability to integrate new technology. The means to achieve these terminal operations improvements addressed issues of traffic flow with the three independent working groups on the terminal; longshoreman, terminal operators and truckers.
A single ship can carry 5,300 containers whereas a truck can only transport one. The Entry Gate Complex monitors and controls the entry and exit of these containers by trucks, and can easily become the point of congestion in the whole shipping process. Thus, the efficiency of the gate complex was essential to the success of projected increase in capacity. The shipping company and the architects worked closely together to streamline the entry and exit process, which was broken up into segments allowing each area to be studied and improved.
Terminal Entry: The existing terminal had one guard booth which monitored the truck drivers passing through a single incoming lane and a single outgoing lane. Both lanes were closed when the guard returned to the main building to use the restroom.
At the entry to the new terminal, two supplemental guard booths were added which doubled the number of lanes. In addition, reversible lanes provided the flexibility required to meet the entering and exiting demands during different hours of the day. A restroom was provided at the centre booth to limit the lane closure time.
Weighting and Recording Arrivals: At the existing terminal, trucks drove under a second-story building containing the Control Office where the seated longshoreman Gate Clerks recorded the containers number and the weight. Columns between the lanes supporting the building prevented trucks from changing lanes. Trucks with no containers or empty containers would be held up behind full ones waiting to be weighed.
At the new terminal, a sign bridge with a 150 ft clear span allows easy lane changes. To speed up processing, dynamic signs on the sign bridge direct trucks to the proper lanes for empty containers, loaded containers and no containers. At the camera bridge, scales and cameras provide the gate clerks information about the truck and its cargo, which is then electronically transmitted as paperwork to the upcoming lane clerks at the inspection canopy.
Inspection Canopy: At the existing terminal the inspection canopy was a prefabricated metal warehouse building with the sides removed below 18 ft. Both truck cab and container were parked under the canopy which filled with diesel fumes from running motors. The depth of the canopy also made it so dark that lights were needed during the day for inspections, making it a dismal place to work.
The new canopy covers only the container leaving the cab's exhaust stack clear of the canopy. Up and down lighting provides a bright work area at night. Cameras mounted on the canopy omit the need for a catwalk to inspect the top of the containers. The four middle lanes with larger canopies and booths are set up to be either inbound or outbound responding to the flow of traffic.
Driver Services Centre: The previous terminal provided no services for the independent truck drivers that deliver and pick up containers. If a driver had paperwork problems, he had to abandon his truck and sometimes they would shut down a processing lane to go to the Trouble Office window. A driver off to find a restroom would often cause the same lane closure issue.
The new terminal provided a Driver Services Centre with restrooms, phones and fax machines to expedite paperwork. It also has dedicated pull-out lanes so the trucks using the Service Centre don't shut down a processing lane.
Gate Building - First Floor: At the old terminal, the terminal operator's staff handled paperwork problems through an exterior window at the Gate Building Trouble Office. Truckers had to cross the truck traffic lanes to reach the window. Many of the Gate Building's occupants took lunch and cigarette breaks adjacent to the truck lanes, causing both flow and safety problems because there was no exterior break area.
At the new terminal, drivers with paperwork problems can be faxed required forms from the office at the Drivers Services Centre and they can proceed to the Trouble Office in the Gate Building without crossing truck lanes. The Trouble Office is an air conditioned space with a spacious counter and public telephones set up to solve problems. This saves extra trips for the truck drivers and the extra processing time for the terminal if the returned driver had to start the process from step one.
The new exterior break area is adjacent to the break room on the opposite side of the building from the truck lanes. This provides a visual, acoustical and olfactory relief for a group that works at ground level between hundreds of moving trucks per hour. The remote location of the break area plus the new Driver Services Building eliminated the conflicts between the drivers and the Lane Clerks. The break area also doubles as the muster area at the beginning of shifts for work assignments and required safety talks.
Gate Building - Second Floor: In the old terminal, Gate Clerks were located in a bridge spanning the inbound truck lanes that inhibited the view of traffic back-up between the entry and the scales. At the new terminal, the Gate Clerks are located at the side of the truck gate in the second floor Control Room, shaped to see the entire process from the initial entry into the terminal to the final inspection at the canopy. Using dynamic signs, they can direct trucks to open lanes and to the next available Lane Clerk.
The design of the gate structures and gate layout streamlined the way in which containers were processed at this terminal. The new entry gate complex achieved a 49% increase in efficiency per lane, an increase so dramatic that the shipping company reached their 5 year production goal in the first year at the new terminal. Hanjin quickly outgrew their new 170 acre terminal and they selected TSKC Architects and Robert Stewart Architects again when they planned their move to Pier T, a closed U. S. Naval Station, the first 365 acre 'mega' container terminal in the Port of Long Beach.
The project was completed in August 1997.
The Port of Long Beach is the second busiest port in the United States, moving about $140 billion in cargo each year. It is an economic engine providing 316,000 jobs in the Southern California area. An additional 1.4 million jobs throughout the United States are related to Long Beach generated trade.
The centre of this transfer of goods is the shipping company’s container terminal. Tate Snyder Kimsey Caldwell (TSKC) Architects, design architect, and Robert Stewart Architects, architect of record designed the entry gate complex for the Hanjin Shipping Company’s new container terminal.
Hanjin relocated from an existing 57 acre terminal, to Pier A, a new 170 acre terminal built on an abandoned factory site. A thorough analysis of the existing facility led the architects to address problems of container delivery flow, trucker’s drop-off and pick-up, staff working conditions and work conflicts between truckers, longshoremen and shipping company staff.
The design of the gate structures and gate layout streamlined the way in which containers were processed at this terminal. The new entry gate complex achieved a 49% increase in efficiency per lane, an increase so dramatic that the shipping company reached their 5 year production goal in the 1st year at the new terminal.
Hanjin quickly outgrew their new 170-acre terminal and they selected TSKC Architects and Robert Stewart Architects again when they planned their move to Pier T, a closed U. S. Naval Station, the first 365 acre 'mega' container terminal in the Port of Long Beach.