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Port of Tyne goes live with UK’s first site-wide private network deployment

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  • Port of Tyne partners with BT and Ericsson to deploy a 5G private network and smart port technology across the entire estate
  • Future 5G-enabled applications set to include autonomous vehicles, survey drones, smart surveillance, artificial intelligence (AI) and extended reality (XR)
  • Low latency connectivity at the heart of long-term vision to streamline operations, improve safety, reduce carbon emissions and drive innovation in the maritime industry
Press release
Nov 01, 2023
A cargo ship at the Port of Tyne

The Port of Tyne, one of the UK’s biggest and most important ports, has gone live with 4G and 5G private network connectivity, bringing together its vision to become a leading smart port that is a model of safety, efficiency and sustainability.

Together with partners BT and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), the Port has deployed a private network with coverage across the entire estate, making it the UK’s first site-wide deployment of 4G and 5G standalone connectivity for smart port applications. The infrastructure is built upon an Ericsson Private 5G solution and BT spectrum, whereby both 4G and 5G will operate simultaneously to support legacy devices as well as power new 5G applications in the port’s future transformation.

The first set of live use cases will begin in November, including video and sensors installed at each gate on the site to use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to securely manage and track vehicle access, as well as 5G-enabled cameras with a 360-degree view at the quayside combined with AI-driven software to provide automated container inspection and identification.

By deploying a private 5G wireless network, the port is positioning itself to integrate a series of future 5G applications and advanced technologies to support new customer requirements and enable the transition to a green smart port. These future applications include:

  • Autonomous Navigation Technology so that vehicles can move cargoes and equipment around the port
  • Remote crane operations that will enable operators to work from simulated cabs with precise location information, full HD+ video and sensory haptics
  • Connected drones at land and sea to autonomously inspect cranes, quayside, buoys and other physical infrastructure
  • Wearable technology and XR devices to be used for immersive training and remote maintenance engineers
  • A connected eco-system of AI sensors, video and data sources from inside and outside the port to generate new business intelligence and improve operational efficiency

The Port of Tyne also has an ambitious vision to become a leader in 5G maritime innovation and provide an industry eco-system testbed to help build a future blueprint of 5G-enabled smart applications to automate manual tasks, improve decision-making and reduce CO2 emissions.

The future of maritime industry innovation will be further discussed by the Port of Tyne across three days from 7-9 November at Maritime Innovation Week 2023.

Matthew Beeton, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Tyne said: “I believe that 5G is going to play a crucial role in helping Port of Tyne achieve our goals. We can streamline our operations, improve safety and sustainability, and drive growth and innovation throughout the entire maritime industry and beyond. With seamless connectivity, we can link shipping companies, logistics providers, and regulatory bodies from around the world, enabling us to work together more effectively to address global challenges like climate change and cybersecurity threats.”

Ashish Gupta, MD, Corporate and Public Sector at BT, said: “What makes 5G so exciting is it allows innovative use cases which help businesses do things quicker, safer, smarter, better. At Port of Tyne, it’s about taking people out of harm’s way, where autonomous machines could instead be used in dangerous environments, and laying the digital foundations to introduce new technologies and improve efficiency at the port.”

Duncan Hawkins, VP Dedicated Networks & Enterprise Wireless Solutions, Ericsson, said: “Together with BT and the Port of Tyne we are turning the vision of a 5G port into a reality, and this deployment serves as a great model of maritime innovation for the UK and the world. 5G brings the essential characteristics such as coverage, speed and low latency to leverage new applications and use cases required to transform port operations, drive business efficiencies, and build a blueprint for sustainability success and future economic growth.”