One problem that every port has is a lack of space. Inevitably, sooner or later, there just isn’t enough on-site space to store freight, handle freight, or handle the needed equipment that moves freight. Fortunately, in an age of relatively accessible anti-grav technology, new options become available beyond the simple “find a new spot of clear land” that often was the only other option.
While not capable of handling the spacegoing NF-8000 series containers, the container pylon fills several other useful niches in a heavily developed starport. Firstly, it functions as additional storage space for the smaller ground containers that move freight either by maglev or anti-grav haulers. Secondly, it provides a modular interface between both both of those transport systems without taking up additional real estate. Pylons can also be mated to an NF-8000 loading frame, providing substantially more efficient container management. Finally, it can also be used to set up inspection and handling facilities that are tailored to specific commodities or companies while still retaining excellent links to cargo support systems.
The container pylon is most often seen as an “upgrade” to pre-existing ports that are approaching, or have exceeded their initial design capacity. While it requires the use of modern high strength alloys (and substantial ground reinforcement), it gives new life to a facility that is feeling the strain of high volume freight.
For once with something space-freight related, this one didn’t come from the GURPS Traveller book. I fully admit that this particular structure was something I saw when I watched the Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters (man, remember when we used to all do that?). It only got a couple of distance shots when they were looking at the spaceport on Xandar, but it got my mind spinning.