APM Terminals (APMT) and ZPMC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), looking to change equipment purchasing from a purely transactional process to a more strategic collaboration with a focus on automation.

Signed on October 11 between APM Terminals CEO Morten Engelstoft and ZPMC Chairman and President Liu Chengyun in a virtual ceremony, the MoU also includes an order for 18 Ship-to Shore (STS) Cranes and 9 Yard cranes across 6 terminals and the reservation of production slots for additional 25 STS cranes and 62 Yard cranes in the future.

With automation being one of the key components of APM Terminals’ strategy of “Safer, Better, Bigger”, it is critical for the company to have access to adequate, state-of-the-art automated equipment for its diverse terminal portfolio. However, the common industry practice of transactional customer-supplier relationships has proven less effective in complex automation deployments that require a more integrated approach between APM Terminals and the supplier.

Therefore, APM Terminals is implementing a strategic alliancing framework, initiated with the signing of an Alliance Memorandum of Understanding with port equipment manufacturer ZPMC (Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company Limited). The focus of this memorandum is the joint development and deployment of a wide range of automated solutions, including automated container handling equipment.

“With this alliance, we are leveraging our 23 year-long relationship more effectively, in which APM Terminals demonstrates strong commitment towards ZPMC and in return receives prioritization of factory capacity, access to the best resources, active involvement in product development according to our needs and a commitment to maintain the relationship on long-term basis,” commented APM Terminals CEO Morten Engelstoft.

ZPMC’s automated equipment is already in operation in several of APM Terminals’ facilities, namely in Vado Ligure (Italy), Lazaro Cardenas (Mexico) and its latest automated terminal in Tangier, Morocco. Most recently, the company is also running a pilot with ZPMC’s Automated Straddle Carriers in its Aarhus (Denmark).

ZPMC Chairman and President Liu Chengyun highlighted the progress his company has already made in several domestic automation projects in China.

“I hope these good experiences will now translate into even better results for APM Terminals, as we now embark on this strengthened collaboration based on innovation and co-development,” Chengyun added.

As well as the automation focus of the MoU, both parties expect the new framework to also spark closer collaboration in areas like safety, supply chain and decarbonisation.


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