First UK and Ireland 5G private port network

BT will build a 5G ecosystem within Belfast Harbour port. Photo Belfast Harbour

Industry Database

The UK and Ireland's first 5G private port network will be built to help enable digital transformation and smart port operations. BT and Belfast Harbour have announced a landmark partnership to build a 5G ecosystem within the port.

This follows a UK-first 5G trial at the port with BT last year. Earlier this month, the Port of Antwerp also announced a project to develop and test a 5G network. Joe O'Neill, chief executive of Belfast Harbour, said: "One of Belfast Harbour's key strategic ambitions is to become a smart port that engages creatively and effectively with customers, visitors and employees.

Following a successful test programme last year, we are pleased to have engaged BT to bring 5G technology into Belfast Harbour and delighted that this private network is a first for the UK and Ireland. "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." Ultrafast connectivity

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. 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. The deployment is anticipated to allow Belfast Harbour to drive operational efficiencies and accelerate its digital transformation through optimising processes across transport, logistics, supply chain and shipping, as well as boosting productivity through the smooth-running of the port's operations.

The partnership will also explore 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 other parts of Belfast City. For example, the partnership will explore how 5G-led capabilities can help Belfast Harbour to ensure a safe and secure environment for businesses, employees and the wider public. 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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