Over 150,000 Autonomous Guided Vehicles to be Deployed in Seaports by 2027

Port automation adoption on the rise due to sustained volume surge and port congestion

The maritime industry has surged its seaport automation efforts amid ongoing global port congestion issues. In addition to solutions such as gantries, automated port gates, and stacking cranes, horizontal transport solutions such as Automated Guided Vehicles (AVGs) that transport containers and loads to and from ships have been the most productivity-enhancing solution in seaports. According to ABI Research, a global technology intelligence firm, worldwide AVG deployments in seaports will have a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 26% from 2022 to 2027 and exceed 150,000 global deployments by 2027.

“Automation enhances the reliability, consistency, predictability, and security of port operations. From an environmental perspective, automation can lead to lower energy consumption and a reduced carbon footprint. Automated ports are also far safer than conventional ports. The number of human-related disruptions falls as performance becomes more predictable with automation and data capture solutions,” explains Adhish Luitel, Senior Analyst, Supply Chain Management and Logistics at ABI Research.

In addition to AGVs in seaports, the adoption of solutions in other modalities of the global supply chain such as rail, air, and road have also seen growth. Automaton solution providers, including ThorDrive, Waygate Technologies, Loccioni, and Advanced Logistics Systems have been providing various automation solutions such as elevating transfer vehicles, ground tugs, inspection robots, and surveillance systems. Inspection robots in rail infrastructure particularly is a growing sector. Over 7,000 inspection robots were deployed in rail infrastructure globally in 2021.  This number is set to grow to over 12,000 by 2027 with a CAGR of nearly 9%, falling in line with the rising rail freight volume. Around 14 billion tons were transported via rail freight and this number is set to grow to nearly 16 billion by 2027.  

“Automation in various modalities, despite its benefits, can also bring certain drawbacks supply chain managers might need to mitigate. Although automation can streamline workflows, they come at the cost of initial potential productivity losses that come with equipping workers with the right skillsets to operate and maintain these solutions. So, there is a change management aspect that managers and authorities need to be more mindful about,” Luitel concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Multimodal Logistics market data report. This report is part of the company’s Supply Chain Management and Logistics research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight where opportunities lie.