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APMT drones making Chilean sites safer

“Visibility of terminal operations has improved considerably.”

   APM Terminals (APMT), the global terminal operator arm of A.P. Møller – Maersk, is using drones at two of its inland services facilities in Chile to improve safety and efficiency.
   APMT has been operational in Chile since 1993 through its subsidiaries Containers Operators S.A., Bridge Intermodal Transport and Contopsa Inland Terminals. It has several inland services facilities throughout Chile that collectively cover an area of more than 415,000 square meters and provide a full range of container and cargo repair, intermodal transport, maintenance, storage and packing services.
   One of the drones is being used at the company’s Santiago facility and two are being used at its larger facility in San Antonio.
   APMT said the drones can perform tasks dangerous for humans, such as rooftop and crane inspections, and each drone has sensors for nighttime flying.
   “The drones are guided by geofencing — a route map for flying,” APMT said. “The pilot has a live-stream view, so he can make phone calls to the necessary people or even fly in and use the speakers to inform a truck driver that they need to get back into their truck.”
   “Our safety supervisors are the ones tasked with keeping the people and activities at our facilities safe, but by doing their jobs next to container stacks, trucks and other machinery, they were exposed to the highest risks,” said Hector Espinoza, director for Latin America at APMT’s subsidiary Containers Operators S.A. “I knew the mining industry was having success with drones for safety, so we started testing it out.
   Work began in 2016, and since then, drones have been periodically used to film site operations, monitor traffic flows and container stack efficiency, and to observe unsafe behavior, APMT said.
   “Since the arrival of the drones, visibility of terminal operations has improved considerably and ‘hot spots,’ such as traffic flow, container stack efficiency and unsafe behavior, can be identified instantly,” Espinoza said.
   Looking ahead, the low-cost initiative of using drones is expected to quickly catch on at other APMT locations, the company said.