AGV: Automated Guided Vehicle

An AGV is a driverless internal transport system used for horizontal internal movement of materials. AGVs transport products over free or fixed paths. These paths are determined by, for example, wires in the ground or markings on the floow. They can be used to transport a single container of 20 or 40 feet. A crane is required to put the container on the AGV. At the moment the port of Rotterdam uses AGVs for the transport of containers from the ship to the stack and vice versa.

ALV: Automated Lifting Vehicle

At this moment, research is done with respect to a new type of automated vehicle, namely an ALV. An ALV can lift and transport one container without using a crane.

ASC: Automated Stacking Crane

ASCs are used for the storage and retrieval of containers in and from the stack. They move on rails and are controlled by the central operating system. The ASC takes/places the container with a spreader from/on the AGV. At the port of Rotterdam, the containers can be stacked six wide and two or three levels high per ASC.


Places at the quay where ships can moor to be unloaded and loaded.


Truck that takes care of the transport of containers. It is capable of lifting a container of the ground by itself. Picture

Material Handling

According to the Material Handling Industry of America material handling is the movement, storage, control and protection of material, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. The focus is on the methods, mechanical equipments, systems and related controls used to achieve these functions.

MTS: Multi Trailer System

For the simultaneous transport of multiple containers, multi-trailer systems can be used. A crane is required to put containers on the MTS.

QC: Quay Crane

QCs are used to unload and load containers off and on a ship. They have trolleys that can move along the crane arm to transport the container from the ship to the transport vehicle and vice versa. A spreader, a pick up device attached to the trolley, picks the containers. The QCs move on rails to the different holds to take/put containers off/on the deck and holds. Picture


Vehicle that takes care of the transport of containers. It is capable of lifting a container of the ground by itself.Picture

SC: Straddle Carrier

For the transport of a container at a manned terminal a straddle carriers can be used. Straddle carriers can pick up containers from the ground. Furthermore, straddle carriers can be used for the storage and retrieval of containers in and from the stack. Picture


Storage area where containers can be stored temporarily before they are transshipped to their destination.

Stowage plan

A stowage plan indicates for each container, to be loaded on the ship, the exact place in the ship. Containers with the same destination, category, weight, size, contents and so on, belong to the same category. Sometimes, only for each category the positions in the ship are given. Locations of containers belonging to the same category can be exchanged between containers of this category. In making the stowage planning attention should be paid to the order in which containers need to be unloaded. Unnecessary moves should be avoided by placing containers designated for a terminal visited later during the journey on top of containers designated for the earlier visited terminals.

TEU: Twenty feet Equivalent Unit

The dimensions of containers have been standarised. The term TEU is used to refer to one container with a length of twenty feet. A container of 40 feet is expressed by 2 TEU.

Unloading plan

The unloading plan indicates which containers should be unloaded and in which hold they are situated in the ship. Successively, these containers are unloaded. In a hold the crane driver is almost free to determine the order in which the containers are unloaded. The unloading time of a container depends on its place in the ship.

Yard Crane

Yard Cranes can be used for the storage and retrieval of containers. They move on rubber tires or on rails over the containers. They can provide high density storage and can be automated. Picture