A challenge ports face today is how they can evolve and keep up with the developing digitalization, in order to increase the efficiency and sustainability of logistic operations.
According to Ericsson, 5G is the answer to the question as it can bring unprecedented value to the optimization of ports, delivering a new level of process and operational efficiency that can significantly reduce costs, lower environmental impact, and boost economic value.
Back in 2016, Ericsson Research team in Italy collaborated with the Italian Interuniversity Consortium for Telecommunications (CNIT) on the first developments of their Port of the Future use cases.
From that time, they have been leveraging improved connectivity at the port of Livorno to carry out a number of leading-edge use cases, and in the recently published Port of the Future report, we explore the outcome of these activities as well as how technology innovation can optimize port operations and produce real economic and sustainability value.
Today, 5G is currently being tested to speed up data exchanges between actors involved in terminal operations, with IoT, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), and AI-based systems all set to be leveraged to enable the innovative new use cases that require lower latency, increased reliability, and greater capacity.
The deployment of 5G for Livorno’s port terminals and land operations will also enable massive real-time data collection and analytics, increasing intelligent automation and laying the groundwork for better coordination between humans and devices (with augmented reality, video cameras, forklifts, trucks and sensors — the list goes on, all working together).
Moreover, Ericsson has leveraged 5G technologies aiming to improve the exchange of real-time information among actors in the port’s terminal process — an activity which can lead to a reduction in movements during cargo handling. This will be able to optimize the process, lowering fuel consumption as well as associated CO2 emissions. The potential impact is huge, reducing those emissions for one terminal operation by 8.2% and contributing to a reduction in overall emissions to meet the ambitions committed within SDG 13 (Climate Action).
Yet, SDG 13 isn’t the only target the implementation of 5G can meet.
Our results indicate that 5G connectivity can generate 65 direct and indirect SDG-linked benefits for port systems
… Ericsson adds.
In addition, the port of the future has economic benefits, such as reduced operational costs, fuel consumption, and machine working hours as well as increased operation speed rates.