Port of Helsinki, Vuosaari Harbour Center: Automatic Gate System



John Lund, Visy Oy, Finland



Visy Oy was selected as the gate technology provider for the Port of Helsinki, Vuosaari Harbour project – a massive undertaking which involved moving and combining two commercial port areas from the center of Helsinki to a new, single, location east of the city.

The Vuosaari Harbour project was a Greenfield, the nature of which was the first of its kind in an EU capital. After years of planning, building, and testing, the Vuosaari Harbour Center went live on 24 November 2008. Overnight, and in the midst of a staggering snowstorm, the new port went from 0 to 4,000 gate transactions per day.

The Helsinki Port Authority, each of the three terminal operators (Finnsteve, Steveco, and Multi-Link Terminals) and Finnish Customs Agency use Visy technology specifically designed for their unique operations. The Port Authority uses Visy Port Access Control System (PACS), the terminals use different versions of Visy’s Terminal Gate Operating System (GOS), and Finnish Customs uses Visy Alarm Gate for border traffic control management.

Visy technology manages all vehicular traffic for the entire Vuosaari Harbour area and provides access control for pedestr ians and people. The interoperable Visy systems manage a massive volume and wide variety of traffic serving a three-pronged purpose: Reduce operating expenses, optimise safety and security, and increase throughput capacity at the gates.

System design

The Visy network at the port is comprised of the PACS for the Port Authority and three separate GOS’s, one for each terminal operator, and a Customs Agency GOS.

All of the systems in the network function together to ensure that cargo moves quickly and efficiently. The Finnish Customs Agency has an
extraordinary set of requirements at the port. Firstly, Customs requires the ability to clear cargo before it leaves the port area.

This process is done through the Visy PACS Net web software, which is also used by the Port Authority and all of the operators to book appointments at the gate. Secondly, Finnish Customs uses Visy Alarm Gate (a completely separate system) to collect license plate and container code data for their risk analysis procedures.

Thirdly, the Customs Agency has rail-side X-ray portals which use Visy optical character recognition (OCR) for container code identification. The access and area control needs of the entire port area are diverse and completely managed in the Visy network.

The Vuosaari gate system is flexible, allowing for traffic lanes, checkpoints, remote areas, interfaces with multiple external systems and a host of supporting technologies to be added or subtracted as the business needs of the harbour area change over time. This list also includes OCR for automatic container
code and license plate recognition (LPR), active and passive Radio Frequency ID (RFID), damage inspection imaging, web technology, and rail applications. The Vuosaari gate system does not depend upon any single technology for the system to operate.

If the Port Authority or operators decide overnight to deactivate any technology or change lane configurations, the Visy systems can adapt without adversely affecting operational performance. The Finnsteve Terminal has six dual direction lanes for ultimate flexibility, and, despite competition, the Steveco and Multi-Link Terminals share several traffic lanes within the port. Overall, the terminal operators have a high level of flexibility with a small number of traffic lanes and maintain the opportunity for TEU growth.


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