Chinese multinationals China Mobile, Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company (ZPMC) and Huawei teamed up with UK telecoms giant Vodafone to build a strong case for using 5G at shipping container ports across the globe in a white paper published in October.
Ports are an important part of facilitating international trade and rely 90 percent on maritime shipping, with efficiency being a key component of ensuring timely deliveries, the report said, adding that missing shipping deadlines by one hour can cost tens of thousands in excess fees.
The industry has begun focussing on better managing human resources, many whom operate container cranes under harsh environments and contribute to increasing labour costs, to boost transport benchmarks, namely via port automation and 'intelligent reconstruction', the paper read.
— Huawei Wireless (@HuaweiWireless) October 16, 2019
5G will also allow one worker to control multiple gantry cranes, boosting productivity and limiting accidents, the report said.
Around 75 percent of port operators believed that automation was vital to remaining competitive over the next three to five years, the white paper said, adding that 65 percent found that automation boosted operational security. One third of responders thought that automation could increase productivity by 50 percent and reduce operating costs by a further 50 percent.
Future applications for 5G technologies included remotely controlling gantry and container cranes, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication of intelligent guided vehicles (IGV) and Artificial Intelligence recognition programmes, as well as recording high definition video, among others, the report said.
ZPMC worked with Chinese shipping giant COSCO Shipping Ports Limited to open the Xiamen Automated Port in early 2016, leading to major boosts in throughput, or the amount of container material passing into a port, as well as reducing accidents to zero percent.
Operation manpower at the Qingdao Automonous Port was reduced by 85 percent and efficiency increased by 30 percent, ZPMC noted, and can handle 40 natural containers an hour, the highest level worldwide.
Speaking at Huawei's Global MBB Forum in Zurich, Switzerland, Vice President of Huawei's 5G lineup said that 5G would help to accelereate the digitalization, automation and intelligent transformation of vertical industries.
Huawei plans to work further with Vodafone, ZPMC and China mobile to realise these solutions for its port customers as they moved towards cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT) and other technologies, evidenced by the release of the white paper.
— Alliance of British Entrepreneurs (@AllianceBE) October 22, 2019
Other ports set to incorporate Huawei's IT solutions include the Piraeus Port in Athens, Greece.
Working with Huawei, the Piraeus Port Authority will modernise its network infrastructure, boosting speed data rates from 20 gigabytes per second to 80Gbps. Piraeus Port Authority CEO, Captain Fu Chengqiu, said in January 2018 that doing so would be "taking another step towards a new era of providing high quality services".
Mr. Chenle, Managing Director of Huawei Greece, said: "Huawei will provide solutions based on the best international design practices and the Group’s latest technology products in order to meet PPA’s operational demands.