£1m 5G contract awarded to Port of Tyne


The Port of Tyne, one of the UK’s leading deep-sea ports, has been awarded a £1.159 million contract to launch 5G-enabled ‘smart port’ operations

The project, announced this week in partnership with South Tyneside Council, aims to boost the port’s reputation for innovation within the maritime industry. It will see 5G cameras and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors installed to monitor the port estate and support its drive to go all-electric.

The funding, secured as part of The Department for Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT) ‘5G Innovation Regions (5GIR)’ £37M grant, is a testament to the collaborative effort of the seven North East local authorities (LA7),  who together, secured over £3.7 million to support four pioneering 5G and advanced wireless connectivity projects across the North East. These initiatives align with the regional digital strategy, leveraging the unique strengths of the region.

The four projects are:

5G-enabled port operations
Connected Intelligent Transport Systems
5G-Enabled event production and 360º live broadcasting
Advanced wireless sensor technology on farms

The North East’s inaugural 5GIR project aims to drive innovation and unlock opportunities for economic growth through making use of world-class digital infrastructure.

The 5G Port of Tyne project will demonstrate how better digital connectivity can help to drive growth. It will involve 5G cameras and IoT sensors to inspect the port estate, boosting efficiency and reducing fuel usage.

The project will serve as a blueprint for the future of port operations, harnessing the power of 5G technology to optimize efficiency, enhance safety, and reduce environmental impact. Through the implementation of 5G cameras and IoT sensors, the Port aims to streamline port estate inspections, minimise fuel consumption, and bolster sustainability efforts, setting a new standard for operational excellence across the maritime sector.

Key benefits of the Port’s transition to a 5G port, include increased competitiveness, faster data transfer speeds, low latency communication, enhanced automation and robotics, improved safety and security, remote operations, and environmental monitoring.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Jo North, Director of Technology and Transformation at Port of Tyne, said: “We have already invested in a port-wide private 5G network, and this contract will further enhance our capacity to implement innovative opportunities for sustainable growth, benefiting the communities in North and South Tyneside.”

Jo added: “Streamlined operations, improved safety and sustainability are just a few of the benefits this project will bring. Seamless connectivity will enable us to link shipping companies, logistics providers and regulatory bodies from across the globe, leading to more effective collaborations to address global challenges such as climate change and cybersecurity threats.”

Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Tracey Dixon, said: “This milestone represents a significant step forward in our Council’s commitment to innovation, efficiency and sustainability.

“Connecting residents to jobs is one of the five key ambitions of our 2023-2043 South Tyneside Vision, with the intention that residents will have access to good quality jobs, skills and learning. This project will help to grow the Port, maritime and creative industries across the region, offering more employment opportunities for residents.

Patrick Melia, Chief Executive at Sunderland City Council and digital lead officer for the new North East Combined Authority, added: “We are delighted to be leading on this project, the first of four projects as an official Innovation Region, and utilising our experience of rolling out 5G networks to enhance operations, competitiveness, and opportunities at the Port.

“This is not just of significance to the Port and the wider North East region in establishing a national centre of excellence for the development and adoption of 5G, but also to the wider industry to accelerate the economic, social and wellbeing impact of advanced digital connectivity through rapid adoption and scale-up across key sectors.”

Join Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council at this year’s Connected North event 22-23 April in Manchester – secure your tickets now!

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