Smart Ports: Virtual Pre-Gate for Dynamic Management of Ferry Freight Export Traffic Use Case

Smart Ports are a key theme being explored and developed globally, having the potential to support the digitalisation of supply chains and logistics, increase resiliency, improve efficiency and accelerate decarbonisation. To explore these concepts further, we’re working together with Royal Haskoning DHV and ports around the UK to release a series of Smart Port use cases.

Our Smart Ports: Virtual Pre-Gate for Dynamic Management of Ferry Freight Export Traffic Use Case focusses on Portsmouth International Port, which handles over half a million cars and a quarter of a million trucks every year. The efficiency of roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) freight transit is of national significance to the UK and is vital to many port cities like Portsmouth and industries that rely on imports and exports to operate. We look at Smart Port solutions in dynamic management of ferry freight traffic to address congestion and ensure timely and predictable operations that could have significant positive impacts for the port as well as for the surrounding community.

Port operations can be impacted by the variable arrivals of road freight, creating added pressures at the port to process arrivals to ensure that vessel assignments are managed effectively. The port is working to more actively manage their estate to improve efficiency of operations, improve safety, reduce costs and vehicle emissions. The port aims to do this through the use of technology, to bring more intelligence into the complex management of freight traffic. As a publicly-owned facility, the needs of the city and its residents are a high priority, where maximising throughput and profitability for Portsmouth remains a core objective.

Technology enabled, active management of freight vehicles coming into the city could also be used to reduce peak-time congestion on the surrounding road network, improving resident transit times and reducing air pollution created by idling trucks queued outside the port. This would also support the objectives of the Portsmouth Clean Air Zone, which is a challenge shared by many other port cities in the UK and globally.