Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe will be the largest UK port to deploy 5G technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to enhance productivity, efficiency and safety across its core operations.
Using a 5G Private Network installed by Three UK, the port's installation has been selected as part of the Government's 5G Trials and Testbeds Programme to drive investment and innovation in 5G and to support the development of new use cases and commercial deployment.
The £3.4 million project has received £1.6 million from the Government as part of 5G Create, a competition to support innovators exploring new uses for 5G to improve people's lives and boost British businesses.
Working with its partners Three UK, Cambridge University and Blue Mesh Solutions, along with key subcontractors Ericsson and Siemens, the project will test the potential of 5G across two use cases: enabling remote-controlled cranes via the transmission of CCTV and; deploying Internet of Things sensors and Artificial Intelligence to optimise the predicative maintenance cycle of Felixstowe's 31 quay-side and 82 yard cranes. Harnessing the speed, low-latency and high-capacity of 5G, the project will demonstrate the productivity and efficiency gains of such technology, whilst reducing unplanned outage.
Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure said:
"We want to unlock 5G's potential to revolutionise a wide range of UK industries and 5G Ports is just one project the government is backing to achieve this.
"Our ports will be more vital than ever as we forge an ambitious new global trading position for the UK post-Brexit, so I'm eager to see what 5G can do to maximise efficiency at Britain's biggest and busiest container port in Felixstowe."
Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer Hutchison Ports UK, added:
"We are delighted to be part of this exciting 5G Create programme. Being the largest UK port to introduce 5G technology will allow the Port of Felixstowe to deploy innovative technologies to boost efficiency and improve safety for our workforce. It ties in well with Government policy to create a network of Freeports to act as hotbeds for innovation and to act as hubs for global trade."
Mike Tomlinson, Managing Director, Business Three UK, said:
"This project brings together the UK's largest holder of 5G Spectrum with the UK's largest container port, supported by world-leading experts in Operational Technology and Narrow Band Internet of Things. This is the perfect platform to test and demonstrate the full potential of 5G mobile technology to a vital and complex industry and develop use cases for wider industries."
Dr Ajith Parlikad, Reader in Asset Management at Cambridge University, said:
"This is a fantastic opportunity to explore how we can bring together the advances in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 5G, and advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence to radically transform the way in which assets are managed and maintained in a complex industrial environment."
Richard Brooks – Managing Director and CTO of Blue Mesh Solutions said:
"Connecting IoT sensors into high speed, low latency 5G networks creates a new paradigm for automation and fast decision making.
"5G telecommunications infrastructure needs large industry partners, but the creation of new IoT devices and solutions can be commercially exploited by small fast- moving innovative businesses such as Blue Mesh Solutions.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with amazing world leading partners and to have the exciting opportunity to create new high-tech knowledge economy jobs for our smart UK workforce."
The Port of Felixstowe, together with Hutchison Ports' Harwich International Port, is part of the Freeport East project team to create a major Freeport centred on the two East coast ports. The 5G trial will help deliver on the Government's objective for Freeports to act as hotbeds for innovation.