New container transport system proposed
By Kim Se-jeong
Imagine an elongated conveyer belt connecting Seoul to Busan.
A transportation research institute in Korea has developed the idea of a constantly-moving container transport system connecting both cities.
The Korea Transport Institute (KOTI) gave a rare presentation Tuesday at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, unveiling a new invention called “Auto-Con.”
A huge turnout reflected hyped-up interest.
According to Roh Hong-seung, the inventor and the head of the logistics research division at KOTI, containers will be able to be transported on a track at a standard speed of 56 kilometers per hour.
“The world’s fifth-busiest port, Busan, handles 3.3 million containers per year.
“On average 9,000 containers come to Seoul every day, which breaks down to almost one container per second,” Roh said when asked about how the project was conceived.
In a given situation where most of the containers are transported via trucks, traffic isn’t always so good and the vehicles emit a large volume of greenhouse gasses, he said, Auto-Con was born out of necessity.
Safety, cost-effectiveness and environment-friendliness are counted as primary benefits.
The automatic system will save labor costs, which account for nearly 50 percent of logistics expenditure, and will make arrival and departure predictable, saving time which is often wasted on the road.
The conveyor belt will be covered by a roof of solar cells, generating the power required, and will reduce CO2 emissions by 183,000 tons.
The system was co-developed with the POSCO Plantec, GID Construction and Nowait.
Nowait’s mother company is Swedish-based NowaitTransit, but it operates independently in Korea.
Ulf Soermark, deputy head of mission at the Swedish Embassy in Seoul, came to the presentation and said the idea successfully followed in the footsteps of the mother company.
What will be needed, however, is new infrastructure — laying the new belt across the country, a seemingly big and time-consuming process.
To convince skeptics, the inventor said, when installed, the track could also be used interchangeably to facilitate transport and deliver weapons in time of war.
The institute said it will first run a pilot program over a distance of roughly 100 kilometers.
The embryonic idea received high praise.
One said, if successful, the system will shift the order of logistics industry in the world.
Another said, “This will be truly a Korean technology,” deserving renowned recognition worldwide, and will make a good export item.