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Digital solutions and new teams to help manage port traffic

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Dry Bulk,


This year, Port of Antwerp will continue extending its shipping guidance in order to manage traffic in the port even more safely and efficiently. A mobile team of Port Authority Officers and Supervisors will take charge of supervision and management. In addition, digital solutions will guarantee a better service, and hybrid vessels will be introduced.

More efficient shipping guidance and planning

The new Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) will be responsible for the shipping guidance of seagoing and inland vessels behind the locks. To ensure a safe and efficient traffic flow, VTS provides information and advice, for example relating to routes, weather conditions and potential risks, to all water-related traffic participants behind the locks.

In addition to the shipping guidance, Port of Antwerp is committed to transparency and the optimisation of shipping planning. It is therefore adding a new team of Port Planners, to take care of the safe, efficient planning and processing of mooring bays. All parties involved, such as the port, port facilities and port users, are to be taken into account as much as possible.

Mobile teams and hybrid vessels for a safer port

New, mobile functions are being created to improve the supervision and management. Under the leadership of a Port Authority Supervisor, Port Authority Officers will soon be responsible for specific control tasks within the framework of supervision and enforcement in the port area. The team is active on the water and on land. In the event of an incident, they are responsible, along with the emergency services workers, for its safe handling. This contributes to a safe port area and surroundings. The Supervisors and Officers will also have new hybrid patrol vessels at their disposal in the future.

Digital tools

Port of Antwerp is deploying several new digital tools to make its port management and service provision more efficient. It is developing several new applications for this purpose, which are connected to the port information system APICS (Antwerp Port Information and Control System). These tools will be launched over the coming months:

  • An inland navigation application that allows skippers to give their electronic advance notice, request lockage, consult the available berths in real time and register their (de-)mooring movements.
  • An application that allows terminals to enter and modify the planning for seagoing vessels.

Finally, Port of Antwerp is also participating in a number of external projects aimed at supporting the digitisation of inland navigation. One example is the compensation of towage companies equipping their barges with GPS trackers.

Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer Port of Antwerp, commented: “Our business plan is founded on various pillars, including ‘Operational Excellence’, in which we aim for maximum efficiency in our services. The launch of efficient shipping guidance and planning will certainly contribute to this. Another priority is ‘Safety & Security’ in which we take responsibility for the safety of people, assets and environment. By establishing these new positions of Port Authority Supervisor and Officer, our management on both land and water will be raised to a higher level.”

Annick De Ridder, Port Alderman, added: “As a port, we never stop investing in the continued professionalisation of our services. In the coming year, we will be paying particular attention to increasing traffic safety and efficiency by further extending our shipping planning and guidance, plus the use of new technological applications and hybrid vessels. As such, we will establish our position as an efficient and future-proof port.”

Read the article online at: https://www.drybulkmagazine.com/shipping/29062020/digital-solutions-and-new-teams-to-help-manage-port-traffic/

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