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Seaports are starting to use technology designed for their airport cousins that can help with tracking vessels and weather conditions.
Peel Ports is the first port group in the UK to invest in air traffic control technology to streamline operations across all seven of its harbour authorities.
The group has spent £2.7m on the technology which will help it identify and track vessels, provide solid-state radar and weather stations and give port customers an online booking system.
The new system will be managed by a new command centre at Peel’s Liverpool headquarters, with smaller satellite operations around the group’s network, which includes Liverpool, Manchester Ship Canal, Clydeport, and Great Yarmouth. More than 35 shipping line services operate through Peel Ports each week.
The technology has earned its stripes in aviation and has also been used by the National Maritime Operations Centre. It will allow Peel Ports to operate fully integrated traffic management, digital VHF radio and automated vessel identification systems; CCTV cameras, solid-state radar systems, weather stations with forecasting, a smartphone app for ship pilots and a group-wide geographical information system.
“This is a huge advance for our customers, our people and port operations generally,” said David Huck, chief operating officer for Peel Ports.
“The technology will allow us to provide a more efficient, more resilient and safer service and will ensure that Peel Ports has a port control platform aligned to the group’s future growth plans.
“The step change in the technology available now enables operations to be managed remotely, and the decision to centralise the function was taken after careful consideration. As a result, the business has made a long-term customer investment and commitment to our people and their future.”