Port of Antwerp-Bruges deploys radar and camera network in ‘digital nervous system’

Port of Antwerp-Bruges has introduced a new digital radar and camera network, capable of scanning the entire Antwerp port area to provide information to support safer and more efficient shipping traffic.

The implementation follows on from the recent deployment of a new drone network at the port, both components of an overall plan to create a complete ‘digital nervous system’ for the Antwerp port area, which covers more than 120 km2 and includes 11,000 hectares of waterways and quays. More than 300,000 shipping movements take place in the port every year.

The 460 cameras and 22 radars in the new network are directly connected to the Antwerp Coordination Centre and will provide Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and the Harbour Master’s Office with an overview of the port to monitor shipping and incidents. The images can be also shared, viewed and analysed by security services and other authorities where required.

The smart cameras deployed in the network are equipped with specially designed artificial intelligence capabilities that allow them to recognise ships. In combination with detailed radar data, the ports says that this real-time information is expected to further increase situational awareness to evolve operations towards predictive and steering behaviour.

The digitisation of the entire network will additionally allow the data to be connected to APICA (Advanced Port Information and Control Assistant), the port’s digital twin. This digital copy of the entire port area provides a scan every second to create a real-time picture of what is happening based on thousands of pieces of data from a network of cameras, sensors and drones.

“This network is a great asset to our port in terms of safety and operational efficiency. The new sensors form the technological backbone of shipping guidance,” said Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

“In the past, there were a few blind spots in the port area where we had no insight into unexpected shipping movements or incidents. Thanks to the successful cooperation with our concessionaires, we have been able to install radars and cameras in many new locations. There isn’t a single centimetre of the terrain that escapes this extensive network.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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