Vodafone to supply 5G to Port of Kiel for autonomous ferries and port logistics
Vodafone is to supply 5G infrastructure and connectivity to a new port automation project for the Port of Kiel, at the Kiel Fjord, a 17 kilometre inlet of the Baltic Sea in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. Vodafone will extend 5G coverage from the state capital city of Kiel to the port area on the fjord by the end of 2021.
The deal was announced as the various parties in the “Fjord 5G” project consortium signed off a letter of intent to deploy a 5G system to enable passenger ferries to cruise “partly autonomously” and “later even in a fully autonomous way” between the banks of the fjord. The project will also look at 5G for use in port logistics and sailing sports.
The parties include the state capital city of Kiel, the port of Kiel, and the Germany research unit of Austrian engineering firm AVL and Germany-based navigation systems supplier Raytheon Anschütz, a subsidiary of US aerospace manufacturer Raytheon Technologies. Local firms HH-VISION and ADDIX Internet Systems are also involved, along with the Kiel Science Centre and the Christian-Albrecht-University of Kiel.
The signature of Hannes Ametsreiter, the chief executive of Vodafone Germany, was also on the letter. The announcement appears to suggest the 5G setup will run in a slice of Vodafone’s public 5G network in Germany. A statement said: “Vodafone Germany will provide 5G to the part of the Kiel Fjord belonging to the city centre by the end of 2021, and will successively extend the scope in the course of the project as required.”
The letter states: “The digitisation in Germany needs to be pushed forcefully. Next to the required technical infrastructure, innovative applications to the benefit of users and processes must spur digitisation.”
Bernd Buchholz, state minister for economic affairs, transport, employment and technology, said: “5G is a cutting-edge technology enabling much higher bandwidths, very short latency periods and a comprehensive linkage of devices: We need to illustrate this technology for the people with projects like Fjord 5G.”
Ulf Kämpfer, mayor of Kiel, remarked: “Kiel is just the right place for this project: a modern city with a Fjord in the heart of it, a city of science and higher education institutions and a port city which is an important gateway to the Baltic Sea Region.”
The Port of Kiel is Germany’s third largest port, behind Puttgarden and Rostock, and third busiest for passenger traffic. It runs cruise ferries to Norway, Sweden, and Lithuania, carrying around 1.6 million passengers per year. The port also moves around seven million tons of cargo.