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Connected cranes stacking containers in a smart port

Smart ports: At the gateway to a new shipping age


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Ports are fundamental to the global economy, transferring up to 90 percent of the world's goods. Most are seeking operational efficiency and decarbonization, yet mastering rapid, large-scale modernization remains a challenge.

The port of the future

At Ericsson, we’re using the power of cellular to transform ports into more productive and sustainable transport hubs. These digitally connected harbors of the future will be able to seamlessly connect millions of shipments and track goods more efficiently and securely.

Driving greater maritime safety and efficiency at Port of Tyne

Port of Tyne advances its vision for a green, smart port with investment in a private 5G network

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Industry news

Ericsson’s cellular technology is empowering ports to:

Create agility

by using port space and assets more effectively

Advance operations

by automating more processes and managing higher volumes

Unlock intelligence

by providing efficiency-boosting, real-time data to workers

How Private 5G networks can empower ports to achieve net-zero

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Create agility

Forging more agile ports with cellular

Ports are currently facing many efficiency challenges. When surveyed, most terminal operators believe streamlining terminal and yard operations are the key issues to be tackled.

Inefficiency here can have a knock-on effect. Vessels waiting too long for port pilots to maneuver the ships into port results in longer waiting times. Plus, truck congestion is also a growing issue as ports become increasingly busy.

But with the adoption of 5G, Ericsson are making sure that smart ports are more cost efficient ports. In the case of one IoT-enabled port, optimizing vessel berthing led to a 20% average cost reduction per year, equal to roughly 2.5 million Euros.

Use case

smart grid communications

Autonomous trucks can operate independently while moving containers around in inter-terminal transports, replacing human-driven trucks. This leads to increased productivity and reduced congestion.

Advance operations

Optimizing ports with automation

Smart ports are equipped with sensors, cameras, and devices, fully connected to a network infrastructure, creating a completely integrated communications system.

This connectivity allows for remote control of heavy machinery and automated port vehicles, and creates a hugely more efficient and secure way of connecting and tracking all shipments and goods.

Automated container weighing systems will reduce weighing times while remote controlled quay cranes will lower vessel completion time, increasing productivity by up to 25 percent.

Use cases

Remote controlled everything

Workers can now perform operations remotely, with automated stacking cranes and rail-mounted gantry cranes decreasing downtime and hugely reducing vessel completion times.

Operating with precision

Automated Guided Vehicles will help load, unload, and transport cargo while moving freely and precisely around ports. Cellular enables them to be assigned tasks wirelessly and perform more effectively than human operators.

A safer port of call

Intelligent video surveillance can help monitor irregularities and protect port personnel, while environmental monitoring identifies potentially dangerous situations.

Unlock intelligence

Using real-time data to boost efficiency

Smart ports will unlock a new a level of intelligence by harnessing the oceans of data running through them.

This connectivity can be used to solve crucial issues, like on-site safety, tightening port security, and increasing sustainability.

Ports will be empowered to make timely decisions, drive new growth, and deliver benefits to employees and the local community.

Use case

Working as one

Cellular will enable massive real-time data collection and analytics, allowing humans, sensors, forklifts, trucks, cranes, and cameras to work seamlessly together as one. Connected workers with wearable technology can move around safely in the port with Automated Guided Vehicles. These wearables will relay real-time data to the workers, enabling them to work more efficiently.

Featured content

Blog post | Accelerating smart ports with 5G connectivity

The need to lead and compete is driving port and terminal operators towards a digital transformation. Ports and terminal operators, such as Canada’s Global Container Terminals, are adopting private 5G networks to enable data-driven solutions.

Blog post | Port of Virginia: trucking via private 5G

Verizon Business is bringing The Port of Virginia its own private 5G cellular network with Ericsson hardware and equipment, enabling an autonomous trucking program while also laying the foundation for future smart ports technology.

5G is key to achieve smart ports and Ports 4.0

Our report explores real-life use cases of how 5G cellular is powering new cost reductions, increasing worker safety and sustainability, and optimizing port operations.

Calculate the value of cellular for your port

Steer into a more connected future. Use a research-based calculator to account for reductions in cost of labor, maintenance, downtime and improved productivity from 5G-ready private cellular network at the helm. Cellular-connected vehicles, remotely controlled ship-to-shore cranes, drones and other use cases can reveal the paths that will provide the most return. Calculate your potential savings and improved efficiency with our interactive value calculator.

Case Summary: Charting the course to smarter ports

How ports around the globe are adopting connectivity-enabled use cases as part of the industry’s digital transformation. 

Case | Increasing the efficiency of port operations

Secure efficiency of port by minimizing transit time of goods meanwhile securing workplace safety and less pollution with 8.2% CO2e saving. ​

Case | Rotterdam World Gateway: Empowering digital ports

Ericsson provided private LTE to Rotterdam World Gateway to enable reliable and quality communication services for its automated container terminal.

Blog post | Improving safety and efficiency with port automation

Ports are struggling to keep up with the demands of modern trade. The newest generation of mobile private networks are enabling use cases that through port automation will save costs, make operations more efficient and keep workers out of harm’s way.

Blog post | Want to power port digitalization and cutting-edge use cases?

Only the low latency of 5G and the security, speed and localized processing power of a private network can bring port digitalization and complex use cases to life that drive efficiency and safety for the ports of the future

Solution brief | Ports

Ericsson provides LTE/5G private wireless networks to help ports around the globe transform into more productive and sustainable transport hubs.

Article | Realizing 5G smart-port use cases with a digital twin

A digital twin can model the performance of a private 5G network in a smart port environment.

Feature article | Container Management special report

A private 5G network helps the Port of Virginia test autonomous over-the-road vehicles at their container terminals.

Feature article | Move Over Muscle

Seaports extract value from facility technologies in new ways 

A private cellular buyer's guide

How ports and transportation hubs leverage private cellular networks for improved connectivity, performance and security.

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