Wilson Sons Docktech purchase marks major step in Brazil’s digital journey

07 Tugboat

The investment in digital twin start-up Docktech from Brazilian maritime operator Wilson Sons is a significant step in the future of digitalisation for the nation’s ports and its communities.

Wilson Sons began working with Docktech, an Israeli digital solutions provider using real-time data analysis for bathymetry analysis for sea and river beds, in 2018 from a relationship built at innovation hub Cubu Itaú based in Sao Paulo.

The start-up sent Wilson Sons three tester black boxes to install in its tugboats at the Port of Santos. From the black boxes, Wilson Sons was able to gain real-time, granular information of silting and dimensions of the port bed.

With this new information, Wilson Sons plans to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities into its central software platform by the end of 2021.

The company believes this will allow planners make actionable, proactive decisions on dredging, port infrastructure management, and cargo management of vessels using Brazilian ports.

“What we want is to have the most recent information regarding the port,” Marcio Castro, Towage Executive Director at Wilson Sons, told PTI.

“Every day we are collecting information and send to our Big Data warehouse. With this information, the port authorities and all the community can take advantage of it and start their dredging campaigns as soon as they identify a trend in silting.

“All of the assets of port, the vessels, the terminals, and the channel, will benefit from it.”

After just two months of using the Docktech monitoring technology on its fleet of 80 tugboats, Wilson Sons can have an accurate picture of the silting and bathymetric trends of any port bed.

Castro told PTI this information will have a multitude of benefits for ports around the world: notably by allowing the supply chain to make real-time decisions on the volume of cargo it can hold on any given vessel as it passes through ports.

Brazil’s data-sharing challenge

The Docktech purchase is part of a wider company strategy to encourage ‘single window’ standardised data sharing amongst ports, its community, and the shipping sector, Castro says.

“Nowadays we are sending messages via email with many parties. We are sending the same information for many authorities,” he said. “This is the main challenge that we have nowadays in Brazil.”

“If we could, with just one upload from our system, send that information to a platform like a Port Community System, I think that it will be useful.”

Castro believes with a rollout of an open data sharing platform, capable of taking in a confluence of information sources from the port authority, Wilson Sons’ own fleet, and users of the port, the possibilities are endless.

Commercial sector leading the way

The drive for standardised data sharing in Brazil’s maritime sector must come from the commercial sector and not the government, Castro says.

“We can research technologies implemented around the world and apply it to Brazil’s ports,” Castro said. “From that, we can have a safer and more efficient environment for the port and maritime community.

“I think that it’s up to us. Not up to government. If we wait for them, I think that it will take too long. It’s important to us to be the first mover and to try to identify these new technologies to bring it to Brazil.”

Wilson Sons will be implementing AI into its tugboat division by the end of 2021, allowing the company to make savings in fuel consumptions and chartering costs.

This is Wilson Sons’ second investment in a start-up. In mid-2020, the company acquired a stake in AIDrivers, which specialises in the development of autonomous mobility systems for heavy port equipment.

Daily Email Newsletter

Sign up to our daily email newsletter to receive the latest news from Port Technology International.

Supplier Directory

Find out how to get listed

Webinar Series

Find out how to attend

Latest Stories

Cookie Policy. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.