South Korean researchers have showcased an invention they claim could transform the shipping industry – a harbour that goes out to ships.
The Mobile Harbour is intended to unload big container ships in open waters, eliminating costly delays that shippers face to use crowded ports.
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It consists of a giant barge with a shallow draught and a stabilised crane. The harbour can also be used for salvage and rescue operations, and building offshore plants.
The system has a “smart” spreader system to grab containers safely in choppy seas and a system for swing-free handling.
According to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, all of the Mobile Harbour’s stabilising operations are computerised, and it has a unique way of linking itself to a large ship and unloading it.
KAIST Professor Kim Kyung-Soo says the system has attracted interest in Brazil, Indonesia, the Middle East and African countries that need to expand port space.
Given the global demand for mobile harbours, are there other forms of infrastructure that could become portable?