Port security in Germany’s largest harbour



Dr. Ralf Hinkel, CEO and founder, Mobotix AG, Kaiserslautern, Germany


With a market share of 40 per cent, Lübeck is Germany’s biggest Baltic port. The port’s heavy traffic, with around 150 departures a week to 24 partner ports, contributes to Lübeck’s success, along with the exceptional ability to handle roll-on/roll-off traffic and the excellent hinterland access. Some 730,000 trailers and trucks and around 1,800 block trains move in and out of the facility each year. Almost 90,000 container units (TEU) are also transshipped here.

Trailer check

Security plays an absolutely crucial role in vehicle handling operations. With the trailer check system, one of the modules of the integrated harbour and logistics  system (HIS) operated by LHG (http://www.portit.de), trucks reporting in and out at the gate are scanned using advanced new systems and photographed from all sides by digital cameras as they pass through a portal. This enables the port operators to determine, for example, whether damage to a vehicle occurred inside the harbour or if damage was on vehicle already before entering the harbour area.

Thomas Kapscha, an external employee who worked on the LHG scanner portal project for Lübecker Hafen-Gesellschaft’s IT department mentions “In the winter, the sun was so low that the existing cameras didn’t do their job properly; you couldn’t see anything on the images. We tried changing the cameras’ positions, but then they couldn’t focus on the license plates. That meant we needed additional cameras to help us solve the problem.”

No problem with backlight

The IT service company, Conect Kommunikationssysteme GmbH introduced the LHG supervisors to Mobotix camera technology. The system was then thoroughly tested and compared with rival solutions. “We discovered,” says Thomas Kapscha, “that the IP camera from Mobotix was best-suited to our needs. The system was exceptionally easy to integrate with our existing network as well as with the scan portal software. The camera also offers excellent value for money and has no  problems with backlight.”

Less effort

Soon it was clear that the Mobotix technology would also offer the ideal solution for implementing a more extensive video surveillance coverage required in order to obtain ISPS certification. The ISPS Code prescribes a large number of internationally required measures to improve harbour security. In addition, the port operators are planning to gradually phase out current analogue systems and replace them with IP cameras. The solution will be used initially for pedestrian and vehicle access control. At Schlutop Terminal, which is not equipped with a scan portal, a total of six cameras – three each way – have been installed to photograph the front, rear and drivers of inbound and outbound trucks and trailers.

This is necessary because the tractors and trailers generally have different license plates, and it is important to know exactly who is on site. “It’s really useful in this case that the cameras can be controlled using a range of different signals rather than solely via the in-built video sensor,” explains Thomas Kapscha. “The front camera is triggered by the access control system. It begins taking pictures when the barrier goes up. The rear camera goes on when the truck leaves the induction loop. And pictures of the driver are triggered by a network signal from the front camera. In comparison with other IP systems, these cameras require far less effort in terms of cabling and installation.”

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