The first automated container terminal in Mexico is embarking on a 5G network pilot at its facility – offering up to one million IoT connections to improve data share.
The Tuxpan Port Terminal, based between the ports of Altamira and Veracruz, fell under SSA Marine ownership and came into operation on 4 July 2016.
Since then, the port has deployed automated stacking cranes and remote-controlled gate facilities for trucking communities.
John Bressi, CEO of Tuxpan Port Terminal, told the Latin American Ports Forum that the terminal is currently working on a 5G trial to deploy cell technology in its terminal.
On a 4G network, Bressi told the audience, a terminal can monitor around 100,000 sensors and IoT devices within a square kilometer. With a 5G network, connections can reach one million.
“Now you can have a lot faster communication with more devices, so the telemetrics in terminal trackers, and geotracking makes [the terminal] a lot faster and easier to get that data collected.”
Bressi noted that the network can allow low latency fast connectivity with a variety of data sources within the terminal: including CCTV; Optical Character Recognition (OCR) cameras; Container Freight Station (CFS) operations; and truck and vessel data.
From the swathes of increased data sources incoming, the operator can deploy digital twin solutions to predictively analyse various scenarios of logistics and container movement within the terminal.
“[Digital twins] involve the ability to run two servers at the same time with real data,” he said.
“One is your TOS which is your up to the minute functions of running a terminal. At the same time, you have another system running in parallel that allows you to play with the data without affecting operations. That gives you the ability to do predictive planning.”
The Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) in Panama, SSA Marine’s first international terminal, is a testbed for new technologies, Bressi added.
“There, we can run simulations, we can use this parallel system, without affecting operations at the same time.
“It’s quite unique, but at this point in its development it’s going to be very common in the future. Smaller terminals can start adopting and looking at this technology.”
5G networks are being increasingly adopted across global logistics: the Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) in August 2021 announced a partnership with QuayChain Technologies to operate what they describe as the world’s first private network to be used solely for the supply chain.