Port of Felixstowe selected for UK Government 5G trial

News

It will be the largest UK port to deploy 5G technology and IoT “to improve productivity, efficiency and safety across its core operations”.

Three UK will deploy a private 5G network for the Port of Felixstowe: the port’s installation is part of the government’s 5G Trials and Testbeds Programme which is intended to drive investment and innovation in 5G and to support the development of new use cases and commercial deployment. 

The £3.4 million project (€3.8 billion) received in £1.6 million in government funding as part of 5G Create, a competition to support innovators exploring new uses for 5G to improve people’s lives and boost British businesses.

5G testbed

Working with its partners Three UK, Cambridge University and Blue Mesh Solutions, plus subcontractors Ericsson and Siemens, the port will test the potential of 5G to enable remote-controlled cranes via CCTV, and deploy IoT sensors and AI to optimise the predictive maintenance cycle of Felixstowe’s 31 quay-side and 82 yard cranes. 

It is hoped the project will demonstrate productivity and efficiency gains, and reduce unplanned outages. 

Chris Lewis, CEO of Hutchison Ports UK, said, “We are delighted to be part of this exciting 5G Create programme…It ties in well with Government policy to create a network of Freeports to act as hotbeds for innovation and to act as hubs for global trade.”

Mike Tomlinson, Managing Director, Business Three UK, added, “This project brings together the UK’s largest holder of 5G Spectrum with the UK’s largest container port, supported by world-leading experts in operational technology and narrow band Internet of Things. 

“This is the perfect platform to test and demonstrate the full potential of 5G mobile technology to a vital and complex industry and develop use cases for wider industries.” 

Part of bigger plans

The Port of Harwich in the east of England belongs to Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group, as does Harwich, also in the east of England. They are part of the Freeport East Project, announced last November, which plans to create a major freeport centred on the two East coast ports, meaning to form a strategic hub linking UK importers and exporters with suppliers and customers globally.

Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group is part of CK Hutchison (formerly Hutchison Whampoa), which also owns Three UK.