“ABB is a Swiss-Swedish multinational corporation…”

Those are the first words in the English Wikipedia article about ABB.

I find the word multinational especially interesting. Because when I think of ABB, the first word that comes to mind is not “multinational”, but global.

For my first 10 weeks at ABB I am working at a business line called Marine & Ports, where I work in the Port side of the business. The customers are ports that load, unload and store containers from container ships. The size of the ships that comes to these ports is sometimes just mind boggling. The typical container is about 12 meters long, 2.4 meters wide and 2.6 meters high, which is funny enough about the same size as my last student flat. The largest container ships today can hold more than 10, 000 of these massive containers! That is, if someone had a crazy idea to make a flat out of each container, they easily could house my whole hometown Öregrund on one ship… I hope you get the idea that the ships can be absolutely huge and hold a lot of containers.

So, when one of these ships arrive at port to unload, it’s time for the Ship-to-Shore cranes to do their magic. These cranes are the ones that lift off the containers from the ship and put them on trucks for their continued journey. Of course, the port and ship owners want this to safe, green and productive, which is one of the areas where ABB Ports comes in. ABB provides solutions for automation and electrification for the cranes in the terminal, so the operator is less and less involved in manually operating the cranes but rather supervises the process. This supports the terminal to be safer, greener and more productive. What a match!

To really understand the product and customers, my manager thought it was a good idea to visit one of the ports. Therefore, in the middle of October I went to Rotterdam World Gateway in the Netherlands, one of the world’s largest ports, to get to see how the port works with my own eyes. In the image above you can see me and my supervisor Lars on top of one of the cranes, about 70 meters up in the air! To see all the trucks and cranes doing their work from above was, to say the least, a great view. Oh, and did I mention that all the trucks in the ports are autonomous? Amazing.

To be able to go around the world and see how ABBs products are put to use at the customers’ site is quite amazing and something that ABB really encourages, as the global company ABB is. This becomes quickly apparent as part of the ABB graduate trainee program. As a trainee, you have the world at your footstep thanks to the final task in the program called the STA, or short-term assignment. In coordination with choice of permanent placement in the company, trainees can do their STA in any of the countries marked in red below. Which is to say, almost anywhere!

The timing of the STA depends on personal preference and workplace convenience. Some trainees stay at their permanent placement over a year before going – gathering experience within their field locally that will be of good use working abroad. Others choose to go to another country as soon as possible, eager to see the world and learn new things abroad.

I am not yet sure which category I belong to, but one thing is certain, the global possibilities are endless.

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About the author

Simon Mårtensson

M.Sc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Linköping University. Joined ABB as a Graduate Engineering Trainee in September 2019. Wants to work closely to the newest technologies, either developing them, putting research to real use or finding the best business cases.
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