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Ericsson and China Unicom Announce 5G Smart Harbor at the Port of Qingdao

By Ken Briodagh

Ericsson and China Unicom, the world’s fourth-largest mobile service provider by subscriber base, are developing a 5G smart harbor at the Port of Qingdao in China, according to a recent announcement. The news follows a technical solution verification at the port of Qingdao and was jointly announced by the partners during a media event from Ericsson’s booth at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.

Reportedly, one of the key findings of the field trial is that up to 70 percent of labor costs can be saved when a harbor uses the 5G automation upgrade, compared to traditional harbors with a fully automated harbor. The labor cost savings were estimated based on the project of automation at the Qingdao Port automation.

“China Unicom is proactively exploring industrial 5G business opportunities,” said Zhang Yong, General Manager, China Unicom Research Institute. “We would like to cooperate with major 5G equipment suppliers and leading industrial equipment suppliers to create differentiated value to enterprise customers. The Qingdao 5G smart harbor project is a pilot of 5G industrial cooperation and we expect fruitful outcomes both in 5G network solutions and business aspects.“

The Port of Qingdao is among the top ten busiest ports in the world, processing about 19.3 million containers every year. The port has been operating Asia’s first fully-automated harbor since 2017. 

“Delivering revenue for the industry is important for 5G business success,” said Chris Houghton, SVP and Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson. “Ericsson is glad to partner with China Unicom in developing industrial service opportunities. In the Qingdao 5G smart harbor project, we successfully showcased various 5G network capabilities, such as mili-second level end-to-end latency at Gbps level speed. This 5G smart harbor solution is not only applicable to the Port of Qingdao but can also be replicated with many other harbors and industries.”

The partners, in collaboration with port machinery manufacturer Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, saw several accomplishments as part of their six-month 5G smart harbor technical solution verification, including an automated ship-to-shore (STS) crane that lifted a container over a 5G connection operated from the control center, managing data traffic from more than 30 high-definition cameras, and control data for a programmable logic controller (PLC). These operations required millisecond-level latency control signals, as well as stable, remote and real-time control.


The IoT Evolution Expo, and collocated events, IoT Evolution Health, LPWAN Expo, The Smart City Event, and IIoT Conference, will take place Jan. 29 to Feb 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Visit IoTEvolutionExpo.com to register now.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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