Smart port thanks to innovative technologies

Wednesday 25 04 2018

Just a few months after the Port Authority, the City of Antwerp, Antwerp University and IMEC signed an agreement to implement the Capital of Things, the first Smart Harbour projects have been set up. Smart port infrastructure will lead to more efficient and smoother shipping operations.

As one of the main components of the Capital of Things, the port of Antwerp is concentrating on smart technologies to make the activities both on land and on water more efficient. Cameras, sensors, Waterview, an automatic sounding boat and a 3D model of the Kieldrecht lock are the first technologies that will be used to achieve this in the short term.

Smoother shipping operations

Seagoing ships and barges will be able to "park" perfectly thanks to cameras and sensors, thus making full use of every available metre of quay.

In the meantime an automatic sounding boat in the Deurganck dock will carry out soundings at the commercial berths, thus giving the Port Authority an accurate picture of the water depths there. This will enable pro-active, preventive maintenance to be done at moments that cause the least hindrance to shipping traffic.

Shorter maintenance work

The Waterview technology (think of a maritime variant of Google Streetview) will provide an extensive database with photographs of quay walls, fenders and bridges, thus enabling any damage to be detected and repaired more quickly.

Finally, a 3D model of the Kieldrecht lock will also be used for preventive maintenance operations. By developing a virtual reality of the lock, the maintenance team will be able to intervene much more accurately and quickly.

Virtual container terminal

During the Port of Antwerp Innovation Days, four students designed a virtual terminal concept in which containers are fitted with track & trace tags so that the container terminal can be fully automated from within a virtual 3D environment. The Port Authority will ask them to develop a "proof of concept" for their proposal.

"What we particularly appreciated about this proposal was the trailblazing yet fully complete concept that they developed, including a vision and a financially sound business plan. The students have designed a terminal that can be a reality 'the day after tomorrow.”

explained Piet Opstaele, Innovation Enablement Manager for Antwerp Port Authority.


The Beacon innovation hub puts the Capital of Things on the map

Port of Antwerp has recently joined The Beacon, a business and innovation hub with offices for tech corporates, innovative start-ups, scale-ups and leading researchers in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT). They will team up to develop strong products and brands for industry, logistics and smart cities.

Located in the Toll House, as of the beginning of September The Beacon will become the launching platform from which Antwerp will make its "Open for Business" trademark a reality, putting the city on the map as the genuine Capital of Things. Read more about it here.