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UK ports join ‘smart’ pilot programme

A group of ports located in the North East of the UK have joined a project aiming to pilot ‘smart’ digital initiatives and satellite-based systems to improve operations, as part of the Smart Port North East Testbed.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}Industry experts, academia and regional authorities will work with the Port of Berwick, Port of Blyth, Port of Sunderland, Teesport and Port of Tyne as part of the project, the first initiative of the Situational Awareness Information National Technology Service (SAINTS) programme launched by the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence.

The digitalisation initiative will aim to test scalable, satellite-based ‘smart’ systems that will work within a large programme of measures towards achieving four outcomes for the ports: new business opportunities and hinterland engagement; boosting the growth of green energy and low carbon solutions; improved customer experiences; and operational excellence and security in and around the port.

Port of Berwick will trial systems to enable closer collaboration between the port and its hinterland, Port of Blyth will focus on technologies suitable for servicing the renewable and green energy sectors, and Port of Sunderland will pilot systems to improve operations, processes and transparency.

Teesport, operated by PD Ports and the largest port in the region, will test methods to boost operational efficiency in logistics and warehousing processes, moving cargo from the port area to supply chains and wider logistics networks as efficiently as possible. Teesport operates nine weekly sailings to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge, and knowledge from the Innovation Dock at Smart Port Rotterdam will be drawn upon to support the programme.

The test bed will examine technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, unmanned marine vessels, and airborne drones to enable ports to become more intelligent and examine ways of speeding up trade.

“Satellites have been providing services for the maritime economy for many years, with advanced technology for navigation and communications the norm in the sector,” said Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult.

“But as international trade continues to grow unabated, this initiative from SAINTS is an exciting new opportunity for UK companies to make significant technological advances for ports, and show what is possible from a combination of satellite data, terrestrial measurements and AI.”{/mprestriction}

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