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Port of Felixstowe Launches Pioneering 5G IoT Project

felixstowe
File image courtesy Port of Felixstowe

Published Jan 16, 2021 8:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Felixstowe will soon be deploying 5G technology to support remote-controlled crane operations and a new IoT sensor network. The IoT element of the project will underpin predictive maintenance for Felixstowe's fleet of 31 quayside cranes and 82 yard cranes. 

Felixstowe's project has been selected as part of the UK Government's 5G Trials and Testbeds Programme to drive investment and innovation in 5G. The $4.6 million project has received $2.2 million from the government via a competitive selection. 

Working with Three UK, Cambridge University, Blue Mesh Solutions, Ericsson and Siemens, the port will install a 5G-enabled sensor and CCTV network across its crane fleet. The port's private-network installation will replace existing fiber-optic cable, according to UK5G.

"We want to unlock 5G's potential to revolutionize a wide range of UK industries and 5G Ports is just one project the government is backing to achieve this," said Matt Warman, UK Minister for Digital Infrastructure. "Our ports will be more vital than ever as we forge an ambitious new global trading position for the UK post-Brexit, so I'm eager to see what 5G can do to maximize efficiency at Britain's biggest and busiest container port."

"Being the largest UK port to introduce 5G technology will allow the Port of Felixstowe to deploy innovative technologies to boost efficiency and improve safety for our workforce. It ties in well with Government policy to create a network of Freeports to act as hotbeds for innovation and to act as hubs for global trade," said Chris Lewis, the CEO of Hutchison Ports UK. (The Hutchison-operated Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port are leading the Freeport East project, which aims to create a major freeport centered on England's two east coast ports. )

"This is a fantastic opportunity to explore how we can bring together the advances in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 5G, and advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence to radically transform the way in which assets are managed and maintained in a complex industrial environment," said Dr. Ajith Parlikad, reader in asset management at Cambridge University.

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