Boosting port flow and safety


VTT has been chosen by PSA Singapore Terminals to develop an advanced wireless network for improving flow and efficiency in the world’s largest transshipment hub. Meanwhile, a new kind of piloting system with a WiMAX-based network solution was demonstrated in the Port of Cork.

Smart technologies and automation play a crucial role in port logistics. PSA aims to use intelligent mobility in networks and a wireless mesh network to enhance operations at the Port of Singapore. The aim is to increase automation and make processes more fluent, as well as to support greater mobility and safety of the workforce and machinery.

A wireless mesh network consists of a group of wireless devices, for example WLAN base stations, through which terminal devices can be connected to other networks, such as the Internet. Terminal devices themselves can operate as data distributors by routing the data traffic of other terminal devices to base stations for onward distribution to other networks.

VTT had also been developing the precise and rapid piloting system under a European research programme called DockingAssist. The system can be used to improve port safety and reduce fuel costs by speeding up marine traffic.

The DockingAssist system includes a base station located in the port area and a lightweight portable pilot unit that provides pilots and the port system with timely information on the location, speed and heading of the vessel. There is no necessary need to deploy expensive additional control systems at the quay. 

A WiMAX broadband network and RTK-enhanced GNSS positioning technology combine to enable positioning, navigation and speed measurement accurate to within the nearest few centimetres. The WiMAX network also allows pilots access to other harbour services, such as information on weather and ship movements, for example. VTT designed and deployed the WiMAX network used by the system.

The research institutions participating in the two-year EU DockingAssist project were Ateknea Solutions (project coordinator, Spain), VTT and ASCAMM-CTAE (Spain). Marimatech (Denmark), Net Technologies (Greece), Prodevelop (Spain), Runcom Technologies (Israel) and the Port of Cork (Ireland) represented the private sector.

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