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North American terminal automation market

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan on the North American terminal automation market finds that the market earned revenues of US$ 110.5 million in 2013 and estimates this is to reach US$ 160.4 million in 2020.

Slow compound annual growth of 5.5% from 2013 – 2020 is anticipated as capital expenditure for automation is lower than for upstream exploration and downstream refinery operations.

Compared to other components in the oil and gas and chemical value chain, growth of automation in terminals lags behind as customers do not have a clear-cut business case to justify return on investment. A key area that solution providers can potentially target is data management for business applications, as otherwise, maintaining a local server at terminals incurs high costs.

Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation and Process Control Senior Research Analyst Rahul Vijayaraghavan commented: “The advent of cloud-based technologies provides end users a cost-effective way to monitor business applications such as certification, transaction management and loading operations while still using an on-premises model for mission critical applications.

“Therefore, the software and services market is expected to offer greater opportunities than the commoditised hardware segment as end users look to outsource their in-house engineering capabilities”.

According to Frost & Sullivan, in order to keep pace with this trend, solution providers are improving after-sales support and adding new rail and pipeline management tools to its existing software platforms. Custom-specific applications for varying terminal requirements are also making inroads in the market.

In addition, the integration of rail loading and unloading operations at the terminal, which includes utilising various components such as real time locating systems, global positioning satellites, ocular character recognition, and radio frequency identification, will become a standard in terminal automation systems.

Vijayaraghavan said: “The North American terminal automation market is moving toward integrated packaged solutions that cater to application-specific requirements of terminal end users. Centralised control and operations of all activity inside the terminal will improve efficiency and further strengthen the grounds for automation uptake in North American terminals”.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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