5G Smart Port System Trialed at Qingdao


By The Maritime Executive 02-27-2019 06:17:48

Ericsson and China Unicom, the world’s fourth-largest mobile service provider by subscriber base, are developing a 5G smart port system at the Port of Qingdao in China and have just completed a successful technical solution verification at the port. 

During the trial, the partners, in collaboration ZPMC, demonstrated an automated ship-to-shore (STS) crane lifting a container over a 5G connection operated from the control center. The 5G connection included data traffic from more than 30 high-definition cameras as well as control data for a programmable logic controller (PLC). These operations required millisecond-level latency control signals, as well as stable, remote and real-time control, requirements which only key 5G technologies can deliver.

The Port of Qingdao is among the top 10 busiest ports in the world, processing approximately 19.3 million containers every year. The port has been operating Asia’s first fully-automated harbor since 2017.  

The trial demonstrated that up to 70 percent of labor costs can be saved when a port uses the 5G automation upgrade, compared to traditional harbors with a fully automated port. 

Chris Houghton, Senior Vice President at Ericsson, says: “In the Qingdao 5G smart harbor project, we successfully showcased various 5G network capabilities, such as mili-second level end-to-end latency at Gbps level speed. This 5G smart harbor solution is not only applicable to the Port of Qingdao but can  be replicated with many other harbors and industries.”

The field trial confirmed the feasibility and potential of 5G applications for the development of smart harbors, and as a result, Ericsson, China Unicom and other partners have agreed to jointly explore commercial 5G networks and solutions for both automated and traditional ports.