A smart port is one that brings together economy, climate and people. Smart technologies and digitisation play a key role in a smart port. We have opened up our port as an innovation platform for these new technologies and are working with public and private players to create the port of the future.
Smart technologies are proving their worth at the port. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is intensively testing a ‘digital twin’ of the port, sensors, autonomous drones and smart cameras for inspection or oil spill detection. By applying these innovations, we are able to permanently detect what is going on in the port.
The digital twin is a digital copy of the port area with real-time information: which ships are in which locks and docks? Are all the life preservers hanging in their closets? How much energy are our wind turbines producing?
The Antwerp Port Information & Control Assistant (APICA) is the brain of the application. A 3D interface with real-time information is the face of the application.
This technology supports port employees in doing their jobs more efficiently and pleasantly. As a result, they can monitor moorings more accurately, detect incidents more quickly, etc. This all benefits safety and smooth traffic flow in the port.
To make the large and complex port area even safer, more efficient and smarter, we are working with various partners to build a network of autonomous drones.
These drones serve to inspect infrastructure, along with surveillance and monitoring, berth management and oil spill or floating waste detection. In addition, they support security partners in case of incidents and fires.
In the future, 5G will form an important link in Port of Antwerp-Bruges' digital nervous system. For example, to send and process images and data from drones and cameras in real-time.
In Antwerp, together with the City of Antwerp, the Antwerp police service and Antwerp fire service, we are working to build a private 5G network to increase the speed, reliability and security of their digital applications.
In Zeebrugge we have rolled out a private 5G network, together with Citymesh and Nokia.
Using various different sensors, we strive to control the port remotely and make it smarter.
To enhance safety at the quaywalls, we developed the Bollard Monitor, a digital sensor that measures the tension on a bollard. We also use sensors to monitor water quality in the docks and extend the service life of asphalt. 3D-sonar sensors, in turn, make unmanned navigation possible. Finally, iNoses identify harmful gases at the port.
In Antwerp, more than 600 cameras keep an eye on the port. These smart cameras can recognise objects thanks to computer vision technology. This makes the maintenance and inspection of bridges, locks and quaywalls easier. The cameras also measure cargo traffic at the port and increase general security.
In Zeebrugge, 700 smart cameras have made their entrance at the port. Thanks to artificial intelligence these digital tools can quickly and easily detect individuals and problems in the traffic network. A state-of-the-art Central Security Control Room then alerts the operator when an unwelcome visitor enters the port area.
In addition to the usual cameras, smart fencing in the port area also keeps intruders at bay.
All the players in the logistics chain have information that they exchange with each other. NxtPort, a subsidiary of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, makes sharing data easier and more transparent. That way, all the players in the logistics chain get the right information at the right time.
Open innovation platform
The port is an open platform for research and development. By bringing people and ideas together, we are shaping the port of the future.
Along with startups, scale-ups, accelerators, investment funds, government and knowledge institutions, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is creating a strong ecosystem that supports and accelerates innovation. We are opening up the port area as a testing ground where ideas and projects can be safely tested in a real industrial environment.
Port of Antwerp-Bruges has a permanent place in The Beacon, a hotspot where technology providers in Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, top researchers, startups and scale-ups collaborate on innovative and sustainable solutions.
Plug & Play Maritime
Plug & Play Maritime puts international start-ups in contact with the City of Antwerp, CMB, DXC Technology, Euronav and Port of Antwerp-Bruges. The aim? To test new technologies and drive the future of the maritime sector through world-class development and innovation.