News

Drones and LTE: Port of Durban goes "smart"

Mar 9, 2017

T-Systems has successfully secured the first phase of an innovative Smart Ports initiative with the South African Transnet National Port Authority. The deal aims at increasing the port throughput and decreasing congestion at the Port of Durban using different types of drone, tracking and sensor technology.
Smart port and smart city: T-Systems is digitizing the port of Durban
The Port of Durban is South Africa’s premier multi-cargo port and is counted among the busiest ports in Africa. Handling over 80 million tons of cargo per annum, the port struggles with several challenges including growing container turnover, leading to port congestions and long waiting hours for vehicles entering the port area. Ristha Joga, ICT manager Transnet: “We were looking for an automated overview on all operations in the port. T-Systems – together with its partners – was offering a solution that would bring all data into one single control center."
The port solution entails the deployment of LTE networks and telematic solutions such as drone, tracking and sensor technology to improve the overall operations. These technologies are integrated with systems that allow for real time monitoring and availability of information through dashboards powered by SAP HANA, thus simplifying decision making. T-Systems is the Prime Contractor and is delivering the SAP HANA and Business Intelligence (BI) components. The drones and telematics technology is delivered by LOTS Projects and the Wireless communication network infrastructure is provided by Huawei.

Use case convinces customer

Smart Port Durban
The Port of Durban is South Africa’s premier container port and is counted among the busiest ports in Africa. T-Systems has successfully secured the first phase of an innovative Smart Ports initiative. The signing of the deal was preceded by a Proof of Concept phase, which laid the basis for winning Transnet’s trust.
The signing of the deal was preceded by a Proof of Concept (PoC) phase, which laid the basis for winning Transnet’s trust to improve port efficiencies. Ronald Salis, Deal Executive T-Systems: “The goal of the PoC was to develop an Operations Control Nerve Centre that allows the customer to streamline its operations and embed real-time data analytics into its business processes. It also enables the port to manage and allocate port resources through the real-time integration and alignment of port events and activities.” The PoC was conducted in two phases. Phase one focused on testing the network connectivity and data integration of all in-scope interfaces and technologies into an on-premise SAP HANA Database. In phase two, the team developed the BI data analytics, customer interfaces or digital applications to ensure real time monitoring and intelligent reporting of the port’s operations. During the three months period, 18 different use cases were tested on several types of drones, tracking and sensor technologies to guarantee that the LTE wireless network is performing well.

Innovative drone technology to facilitate communication

The deployment of drones will also enable the port to automate several functions such as monitoring the port area, locating and inspect the buoys’ position or walls of the port or the hull of ships in the harbor. Drones may also facilitate the communication between the port and the ships and even support the captains in bringing their ships safely into the harbor.  
The upcoming seven months will now show whether the Smart Port project might serve as a blueprint for other ports around the world. A successful delivery of the first project phase will pave the way for subsequent roll-outs to other ports and will involve additional use cases.