Port of Antwerp is about to lauch a new shipping guidance system, named as “Vessel Traffic Services” (VTS) in an effort to boost safety and smooth vessel traffic at the port.
It is known that traffic on the Scheldt and at the Antwerp docks is becoming increasingly busy. Therefore, Port of Antwerp goals to deal with this effectively.
Starting from 1st March, VTS will ensure more efficient guidance of shipping traffic, while guarantee an increase in safety and environmental protection at the port.
As explained, VTS provides information and advice on both ship navigation and weather conditions, calamities and other potential risks.
In fact, the new VTS operators and traffic controllers are responsible for the safe and efficient organisation of shipping traffic behind the locks. The analysis and communication of this information allows for a smoother throughput of seagoing vessels and inland navigation craft.
Following the situation, the port will be monitored through three sectors. The Right Bank is divided into 2 sectors, Polder and City, while the Left Bank becomes the Waasland sector. Namely, these sectors each have their own VHF channel for communicating with traffic participants.
With the start-up of the new vessel traffic control system, vessel traffic will be monitored by a VTS operator. The start-up of the service will take place in several phases.
On March 1, VTS will begin with the Waasland sector at the docks on the Left Bank. The service is operational from Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm. As of 3 April, the service will operate 24/7. In the autumn, the phased roll-out on the Right Bank will begin in the Polder sector and the City sector.
“The launch of the Vessel Traffic Service will enable us to respond better to the increasingly busy conditions at our port. Clear communication leads to more efficient guidance, allowing us to ensure safe and smooth traffic at the port.”
…as Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer at Port of Antwerp, concluded.
Overall, Port of Antwerp recently deployed for the first time an autonomous drone, that will be testing various use cases in the field of inspection and control, in order to maintain safety in the complex port environment, which covers more than 120 km².