Wärtsilä and the Port of Tanger Med are collaborating to develop a new Port Management information System (PMIS), which will utilise data exchange to boost operational efficiency, port safety and environmental sustainability.
Both organisations will co-develop smart port tools for port operations and digitalisation including implementing Just-In-Time (JIT) solutions, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
The new PMIS aims at addressing the needs of the leading maritime liners and alliances calling at Tanger Med Port Complex, to optimise their vessel calls and to use standardised master and event data.
Bruce Mills, business development STC at Wärtsilä Voyage, said: “It is a ground-breaking project from a technology perspective. Tanger Med Port has planned for a full and comprehensive smart port upgrade that includes not only an extensive range of our existing Ship Traffic Control products but also new solutions that will enter the market later in 2021, such as Wärtsilä Navi-Port and AIM (Advanced Intelligent Manoeuvring).”
Ridouan Boulaich, IT director at the Port of Tanger Med, said: “This partnership aims to support the port’s current efforts to become a leading smart port equipped with the latest technologies to improve operational efficiency, and further enhance organisation of ships calls and nautical services, which will be essential as port traffic increases.”
Tanger Med, the largest container port in Africa and the Mediterranean, is part of the International Taskforce Port Call Optimisation (PCO), which brings together international ports including Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg and Los Angeles, to harmonise and optimise procedures.
The joint initiative includes the delivery and installation of a Wärtsilä Navi-Harbour VTS System comprising the PortLink Port Management Information System, IALA Advanced Coastal Surveillance Radars, VHF Radio Sub-System, Automatic Identification System, Operator Workstation, Network Systems, Ancillary Equipment and a five-year service and support contract.
Mills noted that PortLink would allow users and port community stakeholders to facilitate the planning and management of port operations, exchanging information in a timely manner while eliminating “redundant data entry” and automating workflows.
Khalif Samir, harbourmaster and Tanger Med, added: “Tanger Med is fully committed to optimised vessel calls through digitisation.
“We are on course to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the port and surrounding areas, which are critical priorities for the International Maritime Organization (IMO), IALA, and the broader maritime community.”
Wärtsilä Navi-Port will also be installed, enabling JIT arrivals and hence reducing the need for vessels to wait at anchorage, reducing congestion and the risk of collisions while lessening greenhouse gas and carbon emissions.
The new PMIS additionally digitalises the entire port-call process, reducing the chance human error.
In recent years, Tanger Med developed its own Port Community System (PCS), offering services such as vessel traffic services slot reservation, call priorities management, pilot dispatch and traceability.
Alex van Knotsenborg, director of global sales at Wärtsilä Voyage, said: ““Improving operational efficiency, better port-call organisation and reducing congestion and emissions will be critical as port traffic increases.
“So, there’s a clear widening of the port authority’s traditional focus from safety to optimisation and greener operations. Digital solutions are the most cost-effective way forward.”
Wärtsilä Voyage will handle all the services linked to the project, including design, delivery, testing, operations and technical training.
The installation will be completed within 12 months, after which the organisations will continue to collaborate under MoU to drive further smart port development.
According to the partners, the development of this new PMIS will enable Tanger Med to replicate this system through an Africa-wide development model, carrying out initiatives with other African port authorities.