Hutchison Ports has opened a new Auto Gate system at its container terminal facility in Sohar Port, Oman.

The opening will enable Hutchison Ports to modernise and fully automate its Sohar Port terminal, which features remote-controlled quayside cranes that are capable of handling next-generation 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels.

The new system features machine-readable cards to store driver information, character-recognition cameras to read truck plate numbers and self-service kiosks for inputting shipping codes. 

It also uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to further improve terminal security.

The system allows truck drivers to pass through the container terminal gates without the need to present paper documentation, which minimises delays and allows drivers to remain inside their vehicles during security checks, inspections and container movements.

Hutchison Ports Sohar CEO Albert Pang said: “Auto Gate promises to make container shipments at Hutchison Ports Sohar even faster and more secure, strengthening the Port’s already excellent reputation as the new Gateway to the Gulf.

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"Auto Gate promises to make container shipments at Hutchison Ports Sohar even faster and more secure, strengthening the Port’s already excellent reputation."

“We recently introduced an automated truck appointment system in Sohar; the introduction of Auto Gate will continue to reduce our already fast turnaround times for shippers and trucking companies alike.”

The Sohar Port has also started receiving services from the newly launched Ocean Alliance, which includes CMA CGM, China Cosco Shipping, Evergreen Line, and Orient Overseas Container Line among its members.

Sohar Port CEO Mark Geilenkirchen said: “Investments in technology to optimise and modernise terminal operations, increase turnaround speed for our customers, and time is money in logistics.

“These are savings that can be passed down right along the supply chain to make Oman even more competitive as a significant regional hub.

“As we become more attractive to international logistics companies, investors and traders, the new Auto Gates will help to open up a new world of opportunities for Oman.”

The port is currently managed by Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC), which is a joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam (50%) and authority in Oman (50%).