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Use of 5G technology in transport and port management discussed at international forum

The international 5G technology forum “5G Techritory,” which took place in Riga at the end of November, attracted political, business and scientific leaders from all over the world to discuss new possibilities in 5G development. One of the forum’s goals was to discuss the possibilities for using 5G technology in various realms of the economy: industry, urban planning, the entertainment industry, the media business, and well as in the transport sector and ports.

5G is the latest mobile communications generation, which will soon provide wireless internet speed and quality equivalent to optical internet. According to experts, 5G will able to provide ten times faster mobile internet, successfully serving the rapidly growing number of Internet of Things sensors, as well as improving data transmission stability and security. Thus, it will be possible to widely use 5G technology in sectors such as transport, logistics and ports, where continual service function is of paramount importance. 

In the forum’s discussions, it was emphasised that 5G technology will make various industrial processes more efficient, cheaper and secure. “With 5G, for the first time in the history of mobile telecommunications, a net standard has been created, which is primarily built for the industry’s needs,” explains LMT Vice President Ingmārs Pūķis. 

One of the biggest 5G projects in the world is currently being implemented at the Port of Hamburg in Germany, where the possibilities of the new technology are being tested in cooperation with telecommunications giants Nokia and Deutsche Telecom. Tests are being conducted in a real, complex and fluid environment, where tens of thousands intensive business processes take place every day. Two years ago, a 5G base station was erected here at a height of 150 metres, and now the port has become a testing ground spanning 8,000 hectares. At the Port of Hamburg, 5G technology regulates traffic light signals and specialists can connect remotely to solve the port’s technical problems, using virtual reality glasses and video streaming. Environmental sensors fastened to ships measure the level of carbon dioxide emissions, while other sensors monitor the technical condition of the lighthouse and buoys. All messages from sensors are relayed to control centres, where they are analysed with the help of artificial intelligence.

The goal of introducing 5G technology is to make the Port of Hamburg more efficient and attractive to clients. “The new capabilities can be used to quickly collate and analyse various large volumes of data. It will be possible to manage and control processes much more simply and efficiently, which are related to the port’s work – shipping traffic at the port, cargo flows and handling operations,” explains the Hamburg Port Authority’s Head of Business Applications Hendrik Roreger.

Testing of several 5G projects is also taking place at the Port of Riga. One of the first is a project implemented in collaboration with SIA “Latvijas mobilais telefons” (LMT) - a drone with artificial intelligence to determine water pollution. “With their relatively compact territory but simultaneously complex infrastructure and intensive logistics, in all probability, ports will be one of the first sectors in which solutions based on 5G will be developed,” believes Freeport of Riga CEO Ansis Zeltiņš. “At the same time, one has to realise that 5G is not a goal in itself, but rather an instrument with which to provide all kinds of port services at a completely different level. A port is not just handling cargoes, but many different mutually connected and complex processes. Technology makes them more secure against human error, simplifies them and makes it possible to manage several processes simultaneously. These days port operations would be unimaginable without modern technology, but 5G will make the port’s services even safer, more efficient and cheaper,” continues the Freeport of Riga CEO.