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Decking out shipping ports with mobile private networks: why it makes business sense

25 Nov 2020
Chris Bridgeman

Chris Bridgeman

Ports are an exciting place to be, but they can also be a challenging and sometimes dangerous environment.

Work takes place day and night, in all weather conditions, and heavy machinery is constantly being moved around putting workers at risk. And there’s usually pressure to get the job done quickly.

The noise from cranes and ships can cause a nuisance to people living nearby. Cargo needs to be loaded and unloaded quickly to catch a tide or free up a wharf. Drivers need to pick up or drop off their goods swiftly and get back on the road. Any delay, even just 30 seconds, can disrupt operation and result in a reassigned task.

Automation and remote-control capabilities can help the shipping and logistics industry run more smoothly, but this needs reliable connectivity. That’s where mobile private networks (MPN) can make a real difference.

A dedicated wave of connectivity

Many of us have been working from home since the start of the pandemic and have experienced at some point the difficulties that connectivity issues can cause.

Imagine if you had guaranteed capacity with dedicated and private connectivity that only your devices could connect to? That is what MPN offers businesses. And in the case of a port authority it has many benefits.

Decking out shipping ports

Decking out shipping ports

 

Decking out shipping ports

 

Decking out shipping ports

 

Covering a wide area, a port’s network needs to support a large number of devices, such as sensors and tablets, which generate huge amounts of data that’s transferred every minute. Then there’s the interference from ships that have their own networks that needs to be managed.

Should connectivity drop for any reason, it’s not only performance and productivity that’s at risk, its employees’ safety too.

MPN in action

We’re working with a large shipping company in one of its busy European ports to use this new technology to improve its operations.

Port workers use tablets to manage tasks but using Wi-Fi meant the tablets were struggling to process the hundreds of thousands of tasks they receive daily.

They weren’t always responsive which slowed down work, as did the patchy connectivity in parts of the port. It not only affected their ability to handle the number of tasks, holding up container traffic, but meant that they struggled to cope with new digital applications too.

To maximise productivity, ports need to be able to track and schedule containers and other freight efficiently and without interruption.

Using a mobile private network, we have been able to cover the entire site with a strong, reliable and consistent signal and high throughput. This way the tablets, and other devices such as sensors, can run constantly and consistently.

Now operating at maximum capacity with minimal delays, the shipping organisation can look to the future knowing that MPN gives them the support and flexibility needed to easily introduce new digital applications across their locations.

Not just a port

Ports aren’t just full of shipping containers anymore, they are doing more to add value and bring transactions closer to the shore.

For example, cars are now being unloaded and sold via distributors on-site. Being able to offer asset tracking for both the cars and their containers, is an attractive opportunity for many and mobile private networks make it possible.

What’s more, an MPN can be installed, tested and rolled out while the business still operates on its legacy systems, causing minimal disruption.

Learn more about the benefits of mobile private networks and what it can do for your business.

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