Durapower to Power 60% of Tuas Port’s Automated Guided Vehicle Fleet

The Singaporean lithium-ion batter maker plans to provide a "key component" of the automated and digitalized port.

PSA Singapore

A PSA Singapore AGV powered by Durapower's lithium-ion battery system.
PSA Singapore, which said it is building Tuas Port to be the largest in the world, will use Durapower lithium-ion batteries for its growing AGV fleet.

Truckyard and port operations are an area of growing interest for automation. Durapower Holdings Pte. Ltd. last week announced that its lithium-ion batteries will power up to 60% of PSA Singapore's automated guided vehicle, or AGV, fleet at its Tuas Port. The company noted that this figure does not include new fleets that are being procured as a part of the expanded port infrastructure.

“As a Singaporean company, we are pleased to see Singapore take the lead globally in the use of electric AGVs to automate port operations,” stated Kelvin Lim, CEO of Durapower Group. “We are delighted that PSA Singapore has chosen to rely on Durapower's global expertise in EV [electric vehicle] battery technology to power nearly two-thirds of the AGV fleet at the upcoming Tuas Port.”

Durapower offers closed-loop, end-to-end energy storage for electric mobility and renewable energy applications, including on- and off-road electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid EVs, electric marine vessels, and stationary storage systems. Since 2009, the Singapore-based company claimed that it has been an innovator in lithium-ion cell technology, focusing on materials research and development, battery cell manufacturing, and systems integration.

With a presence spanning 23 countries and 48 cities in Europe and Asia, Durapower Group said it “strives to make scalable, sustainable batteries that support the circular economy, empower lives, and transforming the future towards a carbon-neutral economy.”

Durapower deepens collaboration with PSA

The success of major port operations is dependent on their ability to efficiently move containers to their assigned locations in support of busy vessel schedules. Today, they are dependent on fossil-fuel powered, human-driven vehicles. Switching to automation could enhance operational efficiency and sustainability, said Durapower.

In 2021, the International Transport Forum published a report noting that fully automated container terminals do not yet exist. In fact, only 4% of global container terminal capacity is automated to a certain degree.

Since 2012, Durapower has been collaborating with PSA on pioneering port automation and vehicle electrification. Durapower was chosen to supply high-powered lithium battery systems for two hybrid diesel-electric AGVs as part of PSA's research and development at Pasir Panjang Terminal.

The companies said that their collaboration has grown deeper since then. Durapower continued to supply high-performance EV battery systems as PSA transitioned from using hybrid diesel-electric AGVs to fully electric ones.

The engineering teams from Durapower and PSA have also worked closely to optimize and enhance the charging and battery systems based on the lessons drawn from their collective experiences at Pasir Panjang. PSA had already been using electric AGVs there, and it has added new fleets on an annual basis since 2016.

AGV fleets part of Tuas Port expansion

PSA claimed that Tuas Port will be the “world's first fully automated and digitalized port.” A key component will be the use of AGVs to optimize the flow of containers between the wharf and yard.

Cutting emissions by almost half, the electric AGV fleet is also key to helping Tuas Port achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, as specified by Singapore's Ministry of Transport.

PSA is deploying new AGV fleets it builds new berths at Tuas Port and commissioned them for use. The company plans to deploy around 200 electric AGVs by 2023.

It could add more in the future as Tuas Port progressively ramps up its capacity. Durapower said its battery systems will power approximately 60% of the existing AGV fleet.

Durapower is responsible for the design, manufacturing, supply, and commissioning of the battery systems for the AGV fleet. It is currently working with PSA to extend the life cycle of the batteries through initiatives such as second-life battery technology for energy storage systems.

With work mostly done by unmanned machines that run on cleaner electricity, the $20 billion Tuas Port is set to be a "game-changer" in Singapore's port and supply chain operations.

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PSA Singapore

A PSA Singapore AGV powered by Durapower's lithium-ion battery system.

Robot Technologies