Battery powered autonomous Q-Trucks are on their way to the Port of Felixstowe.
Owner Hutchison Ports signed the agreement with Shanghai Westwell Technology Co. Ltd (Westwell) for 100 vehicles after an extensive testing and evaluation process.
Hutchison Ports first introduced the Q-Trucks at Terminal D in Thailand’s Laem Chabang Port in 2020. Fifteen Q-Trucks run in mixed mode operation with no separation from other traffic and have handled over 334,000 TEU (Twenty-feet Equivalent Unit) moves since their introduction.
Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Executive Director of Hutchison Ports, said: “We are really excited to be working in partnership with Westwell to bring their ground-breaking and AI-driven technology to the Port of Felixstowe.
“Following the positive introduction of autonomous trucks at our terminal in Thailand and after thorough and successful testing in Felixstowe, we are rolling the system out in the UK.
“The new trucks will increase the efficiency and operational consistency of our container handling as well as making a significant contribution to decarbonising operations at the port.”
Kenny Tan, Chairman of Westwell, said: “Hutchison Ports is a significant global partner for Westwell. As a world leading company in intelligent mass-logistics, Westwell, with its holistic solution in new energy autonomous driving, can help increase efficiency while reducing costs and delivering sustainable development options.
“The contract also marks a very important development of Westwell’s Ainergy Strategy to utilise AI applications to reduce energy consumption and facilitate decarbonisation. In this respect we will continue to explore opportunities to commercialise new developments with Hutchison Ports to equip global logistics for sustainable development.”
Delivery of the first autonomous trucks will start in September 2023.
The new equipment is an essential element of the port’s decarbonisation strategy. Hutchison Ports has announced that its UK ports will achieve Scope 1 and Scope 2 net-zero by 2035 as part of the group’s global target established in line with the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) net-zero standard. In addition to the autonomous trucks, the port is investing in battery-powered conventional tractor units, replacing and re-engineering its yard cranes and purchasing electricity only from certified renewable sources.
The Port of Felixstowe is part of Freeport East, one of 12 Freeports being established in the UK. A key element of the Freeport East strategy is to boost innovation and investment. Following the signing ceremony for the autonomous trucks, Clemence Cheng and Kenny Tan held further discussions about bringing Westwell’s technology and expertise to the UK through the establishment of a new facility for Westwell within Freeport East.