Canadian Shipper


PEMA paper looks at laser technology in ports and terminals

BRUSSELS, Belgium–The Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA), the global industry body for port equipment and technology, has published a new information paper on Laser Technology in Ports and Terminals.

Since laser technology was first deployed in the early 1990s, its use in ports and terminals has advanced rapidly as part of the general trend towards greater automation in container handling. Over the last two decades, active collaboration between technology providers and container terminal operators has spurred significant development in the role and performance of laser recognition systems, says the report.

Laser technology is now a key component of fully automated and semi-automated terminals, helping robotic equipment to ‘see’ and position itself to a high degree of accuracy. It is commonly used to determine the position of containers, trailers, AGVs and straddle carriers, create stack profiles in the yard and bay profiles for ships and ensure accurate positioning of crane trolleys and spreaders, among other applications.

Lasers are also used in a growing number of safety applications, both in automated and manned terminals. This includes prevention of crane-to-crane and boom-to-ship collisions on the quayside, avoidance of stack collisions in the yard, and ensuring that trucks are not accidentally lifted during container handling.

Developed by PEMA’s Technology Committee, the new information paper provides an overview of current applications for laser technology at the quay, yard and gate, as well as in horizontal transport operations. The report outlines the different types of laser in use today, from single dimension (1D) scanners to 3D systems, explains how the technology works and explores choices for different applications around the terminal.

The new report is the 8th information paper to be published by PEMA and complements existing technology briefings covering RFID, OCR and container yard automation. It is available for free download at

Julia Kuzeljevich

Julia Kuzeljevich

Julia Kuzeljevich is Editor of Canadian Shipper. She has been writing about transportation and logistics issues since 1999.
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