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Port of Santos, Wilson Sons and DockTech sign technical cooperation agreement for the use of pioneering technology in Brazil

The Santos Port Authority (SPA), Wilson Sons and DockTech signed on Thursday (09/12) a technical cooperation agreement for the improvement and use of unprecedented seabed monitoring technology. The agreement formalizes the partnership that aims the study and collaboration between the three companies to improve the solution for real-time monitoring of the operational depth of the navigation channel and access to docking berths at the Port of Santos. Developed by the Israeli startup DockTech, the solution maps the navigation channel depth in real time and is able to understand the silting pattern of ports, predicting how seabed variations affect navigation safety and cargo transportation.

The SPA CEO, Fernando Biral, said the initiative is part of SPA’s strategy to join forces with the port community and public and private agents in the region to find standards and similarities in services, enabling information sharing to rationalize investments and accelerate the innovation process in search of greater operational efficiency. “This partnership is an important milestone because it shows that together we can do more and better to put the Port of Santos on a new level of performance and technological innovation”, said Biral.

The collaboration with Wilson Sons and DockTech is the first initiative regulated by the SPA norm that establishes partnership guidelines for the development of technological innovations in the Port.

Wilson Sons has a minority stake in DockTech and a commercial exclusivity agreement with the company for implementation in Brazilian ports. The investment is part of the Company’s strategy to foster innovation and development of port and maritime infrastructure.

The initial tests with the technology in Brazil occurred in the Port of Santos and now, with the technical cooperation agreement, the partnership will be expanded. “Having the largest port in Latin America as a strategic partner is very significant for us and an opportunity to improve the tool”, says Márcio Castro, executive director of Wilson Sons’ towage division.

DockTech’s digital twin technology uses bathymetric data (depth measurement) collected by Wilson Sons’ tugboats to create a dynamic virtual representation of the Port’s seabed. By analyzing this data with artificial intelligence-based algorithms it is possible to identify the occurrence of silting, anticipate dredging needs and ensure greater safety to navigation.

“The world’s port infrastructure does not yet have instruments capable of monitoring the depth of navigation channels and access to docking berths in real time. DockTech’s solution makes dynamic measurement possible and thus avoid operational draft restrictions, increase navigation safety and prevent the waste of dredging resources”, explains Uri Yoselevich, co-founder and CEO of DockTech.

The hydrographic survey campaigns, of category A and special order, which are used to monitor the depth of the access channel to the Port of Santos and to inspect and measure the dredging services, cost around R$ 2 million per year. Biral explains that the new technology will enable SPA to improve its planning and invest more assertively and efficiently in maintaining the depth of the Port’s navigation channel.

In addition to reducing costs, another benefit pointed out by Wilson Sons executive is the possibility of anticipating scenarios and understanding how meteoceanographic conditions affect the silting of the channel. “The tool feeds us with data 24 hours a day. This allows a dynamic visualization of what is happening in the port. It’s like replacing a photo with a real-time movie”, explains Márcio.

The Port Authority will cooperate in the technical analysis and improvement of the tool, suggesting adaptations that meet the SPA needs and proposing new applications and possible gains enabled by the use of the solution.

The deputy executive secretary of the Brazilian Infrastructure Ministry, Felipe Queiroz, got to see the technology up close. “The innovation agenda is a priority of the Federal Government, and this type of initiative has the full support of the Infrastructure Ministry. It is a major advance by SPA to make Santos a more modern and safer port, and operationally more intelligent”, he highlights.

Norm for partnerships – The norm that establishes guidelines for partnerships at the Port of Santos, published in September, opens up a range of possibilities for the innovation ecosystem that aims to intensify cooperation between the SPA, port terminals, scientific and technological institutions, research institutes and startups in search of shared solutions for the Port of Santos’ activities.

This regulation is part of the innovation agenda that SPA launched in 2019 with the digitalization of services and debureaucratization of norms with the goal of moving towards the Port 4.0 model. The Port Authority also created an Innovation Committee that will focus on technological solutions initiatives.

Another important aspect of this process is the Port-City relationship, since it establishes a greater involvement with universities through a dialogue about the new port worker profile, so that universities can prepare undergraduates to fill the new jobs generated by the terminals.
Source: Wilson Sons

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