Posted inAT+

China’s high-tech Field of Dreams

TIANJIN – Watching the giant cranes glide across the longshore of this ancient port, a visitor has to pinch himself to remember that this is not a gigantic toy, but one of the world’s ten largest facilities, moving more than 20 million containers a year from ships to trucks without a single human in sight.

Built in just 19 months in 2020-2021, the automated Tianjin port isn’t just a means to send Chinese exports to the world. A high-definition video on an enormous curved screen in the visitor center reminds the visitor that the most important export item is the port itself. Tianjin was built to be cloned worldwide.

Call it the Sino-forming of world trade: Supply-chain bottlenecks due to port congestion, endemic in the Global South, can be alleviated by this artificial intelligence-driven system that dispatches cranes communicating on a 5G network, and empties a large container ship in just 45 minutes. At the biggest US port at Long Beach, California, unloading the same ship takes between 24 and 48 hours.

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