“The digitization processes in the port, the growing need for data flow and data exchange, the more stringent port security requirements, autonomous ships, the use of drones, an autonomous and automatic access system to the port and terminals, as well as various automatic port facilities make the Freeport of Riga Authority think how to provide the port processes with the necessary data flow speed, continuity and security. The 5G network and related solutions could very soon become a necessity for the Port of Riga ”, stressed the Freeport of Riga CEO Ansis Zeltiņš, participating in the panel discussion “Future Port”.
The participants of the panel discussion were unanimous – the diverse ecosystem of ports with various participants, the specific security requirements, the international environment and the huge amount of generated data is not only a suitable environment for testing new 5G technologies, but also one of the first sectors where the 5G network will become an essential necessity.
The first 5G test site for maritime and port technologies operates in the port of Plymouth in Great Britain, where the private 5G network operated by the Marine Business Technology Center (MBTC) is used for testing and implementing new digital technologies. “At our center, the 5G network enables testing of next-generation shipping and port technologies. Mostly these are autonomous ships, various autonomous floating objects that operate both above and below water, as well as autonomous flying objects – drones, etc. All these technologies are developed to improve the efficiency and safety of shipping and port operations. However, currently the main challenge and issue that needs to be addressed to ensure feasibility of 5G technologies is the lack of regulation – i.e. lack of unified rules and standards related to autonomous ships’ operation”, said Plymouth MBTC director Rob Watson.
According to the organizers of the technology forum, the goal of this year’s “5G Techritory” was to redirect the European 5G society from ideas and conversations about 5G to practical activities and steps in technology implementation and practical application. Therefore, in addition to 120 speakers and more than 2,000 registered participants, the forum involved more than 300 experts in a wide variety of technologies, who, in the framework of the events organized by 20 forum partners, explored ways and directions for the practical application of 5G technologies both in international shipping and smart transport corridors, as well as in smart cities, green technologies and many other areas.
A wide range of international and Latvian experts discussed the practical and effective application of new digital technologies and innovations in port management systems in the work session “Port VTS modernization and the potential impact of MASS” organized by the Freeport of Riga Authority. The session participants unanimously stressed that 5G is not an end in itself, but a tool with the help of which the port can be not only more efficient, safer, more profitable for clients, but also greener and more people-friendly. The 5G network is not a solution in itself, but it paves the way for the implementation of the necessary digitization and automation solutions.
As part of the “5G Techritory” forum, the Freeport of Riga CEO Ansis Zeltiņš, together with representatives of Latvian energy, technology and transport companies, as well as of higher education and state institutions, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen cooperation for the development of hydrogen technologies in Latvia. “We have taken a step closer to the development and wider use of hydrogen technology in Latvia and possibly also in the port of Riga,” said the Freeport of Riga CEO after signing the memorandum.