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Swiss power and automation firm ABB has acquired US-based APS Technology (APS), expanding its portfolio for container terminal automation to optimise cargo handling and tracking from ship to gate.

APS provides vision-based automation systems that identify containers, trucks, rail equipment, and other transport assets for ports and intermodal container facilities.

The systems help container terminals, port authorities and shipping lines to modernise their operations by automating manual processes in gate, vessel, rail and yard operations.

Following the acquisition, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013, APS will be integrated into ABB’s process automation division.

The head of ABB’s marine and cranes business unit Heikki Soljama said the transaction will help the company offer added-value integrated systems for its customers.

"This acquisition is a good strategic fit for our existing solution portfolio, and will further strengthen our product portfolio," Soljama said.

After the acquisition, APS will expand into new geographic regions, which will help to extend support and engineering capabilities, according to APS founder and CEO Russ Scheppmann.

"Our customers will also benefit from ABB’s global reach in sales and service, and combined efforts in R&D projects," Scheppmann said.

APS’s solutions are installed at 20 marine container terminals in five countries worldwide.

Image: APS will be integrated into ABB’s process automation division after the acquisition is completed in the first quarter of 2013. Photo: ABB.