BT and Belfast Harbour partner to build private 5G network for ports

  • BT and Belfast Harbour have announced a landmark to build a state-of-the-art 5G ecosystem within the Harbour's Port. 

    The partnership will deliver a series of 5G-led innovations to accelerate Belfast Harbour’s digital transformation and help deliver its smart port strategic ambitions.  

    BT will build and manage a live 5G Private Network designed specifically to achieve the highest levels of ultrafast mobile connectivity, coverage, reliability and security across the port’s main operational areas.

    Both organisations say that the “highly secure and scalable network will enhance safety, security and sustainability across the Harbour Estate” and is expected to go live across large parts of the 2,000-acre site early next year. 

    This follows BT and Belfast Harbour’s first trial of 5G technology last year which aims to support Belfast Harbour’s ambitions to become the world’s best regional smart port.

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    Paul Murnaghan, Regional Director for BT’s Enterprise division in Northern Ireland, said: “Ports are fundamental to the UK economy, and Belfast Harbour handles approximately two thirds of Northern Ireland’s seaborne trade.

    "With the rising demands on transport and logistics, and the growing need for operations to be safe, secure and sustainable, we’re excited to work with Belfast Harbour as its technology partner, building 5G-led innovations to unlock the productivity benefits for the port and contribute to the region’s green recovery ambitions.”

    Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive of Belfast Harbour added: “The smooth and efficient running of our Port logistics network relies on the accurate tracking and integration of data gathered from multiple sources. 

    "We believe the increased capabilities of 5G technology can have a beneficial effect on our operations, helping us for example to capture, process and interpret data in real time and giving insights that will speed decision making, better manage vehicle traffic through our Harbour Estate  and improve productivity across our operations and services.”

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    Every year, more than 1.75m people and over half a million freight vehicles arrive and depart through Belfast Harbour’s Port, while 24m tonnes of goods are managed and carried by ferries, container ships and general cargo vessels.

    The partnership will examine how 5G and other emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and Connected Autonomous Vehicles can be used together to enhance public safety, physical security and address climate change across the Port and wider region.

    The partnership will also explore how 5G capabilities can help Belfast Harbour maintain a safe and secure environment for businesses, employees and the wider public.

    For example, the two organisations will work on improved productivity and safety measures by enabling 5G remote controlled inspection technology to reduce the need for staff to work at height.

    Meanwhile, the roll out of 5G enabled sensors to monitor air quality and other environmental factors will support Belfast Harbour and the wider city in achieving its green recovery and sustainability ambitions.

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    Source: Written from press release

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