UK port operator, 3 UK transforming staff safety with 5G


Head of information systems Hutchison Ports

INTERVIEW: Port operators across the globe have more to gain from deploying 5G than simply improving business efficiency, a technology expert with Hutchison Ports UK told Mobile World Live.

Karen Poulter, the port company’s head of information systems, highlighted health and safety and overall working conditions as also among the key factors driving a trial of 5G technology at the Port of Felixstowe in conjunction with 3 UK.

A project involving remote operation of the cranes used to convey containers, for example, improves safety by simply reducing the number of people on the quay and also “really transforms the working environment” by enabling an office-based workspace where people “can take breaks when they need to”.

Hutchison Ports UK has already identified several areas where 5G offers advantages over an existing private 4G network deployed at the port, with bandwidth and lower-latency key because of the “safety critical” nature of its work.

Poulter explained systems will automatically shut off “if the throughput isn’t good enough”, so wireless technology must be “fast and it’s got to be reliable, and it’s got to be able to handle much bigger data loads”.

Collaboration is key to overcoming some of the unique challenges of port operations, she added, citing containers stacked higher than some buildings along with the lifespan of the equipment used.