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Port of Antwerp further expands its radar infrastructure

Port of Antwerp further expands its radar infrastructure
Radar infrastructure at the Port of Antwerp

The Port of Antwerp has awarded a framework contract to Securitas to fully digitalise and further expand the port’s radar infrastructure.

As part of the collaboration the 12 current analogue radars in use at Antwerp will be gradually replaced and, in addition, seven radar set-up points will be added.

Port alderman Annick De Ridder said: “Our ambition is to become a world port of the future where innovation and digitalisation is key.

“This new radar infrastructure will help us manage our port more efficiently and is an important step towards safer and smoother traffic.”

The digitalisation of the Port of Antwerp’s radar infrastructure will further support and accelerate efforts on other innovation projects which will simplify the connection with the digital twin Advanced Port Information and Communication Assistant (APICA).

This digital twin allows various real-time data to be brought together and, via data science, translated into actionable information for a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders.

Because of its location in the hinterland and the associated complex calls, the nautical chain operation is of crucial importance for smooth traffic in the Port of Antwerp.

The port began rolling out vessel traffic management in 2021, with the aim of upgrading the guidance of shipping traffic behind the locks.

Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) started on the left bank at the beginning of 2021 and, as of November 22, the port rolled out VTS behind the locks on the right bank.

The VTS service ensures more efficient guidance of the increasing traffic at Antwerp by providing advice and information on vessel navigation, weather conditions, calamities and other possible risks.

VTS has been operational on the left bank 24 hours a day since April 2021 and has helped enhance the safety and protection of the environment in the port.

The implementation of the VTS service on the right bank will take place in two phases: in the first phase Sector Polder will become active on VHF channel 2. The first phase begun on November 22.

Sector Polder covers the northern part of the docks and the VTS service in the southern part will be launched in the spring of 2022.

Together with the start of Sector Polder, the functions of some VHF channels will change.

For example, the Lillobrug bridge operator will be reachable via VHF channel 2 so that shipping will no longer need to switch to VHF channel 62.

Integrator Securitas will use products from the Italian radar manufacturer ICS for the framework agreement.

BU Technology director aviation and maritime Patrick Delanghe said: “Securitas helps to make the world a safer place. We provide security services for the mainland as well as for the sea and inland waterways.

“We are therefore very pleased to be able to support a world reference such as Port of Antwerp with the integration of a VTS.”