Port of Kiel receives funding for digital test field

Frontrunner in the digitalisation of operational processes in RoRo terminals

Kiel - 30th November 2021

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) will fund the establishment and operation of a digital test field in the Kiel seaport. As part of the D-TECH-BASE project, port terminals for roll-on/roll-off traffic (RoRo) will become test fields for the new 5G terminal communication and traffic control for the first time. Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director at the PORT OF KIEL: "Kiel is a leader in the digitalisation of operational processes in RoRo terminals. With the support of the BMVI, we will further develop innovative solutions in process optimisation and networking within the framework of DigiTest. I am looking forward to the digital test field, which will enable us to operate even more efficiently and sustainably." The project, worth about 1.75 million euros, focuses on the Ostuferhafen and Schwedenkai and will be in effect for a good two and a half years until 30th June 2024.

The basis of the digital test field is the establishment of a 5G-campus network for fast data transmission, which is aligned with modern information and communication infrastructure. Lars Gummels, Head of IT at the PORT OF KIEL: "The 5G network forms the decisive infrastructural basis for the implementation of further digitalisation measures. Various hardware and software components will build on this to improve terminal communication and traffic control."

Within the terminals, tagless optical unit tracking, an innovative trailer tracking system, will be used. A fleet management system is also planned, which will enable the connection and scheduling of all forklift trucks at the terminals in real time via Smart Connect. The multimedia screens to be installed are also smart, displaying dynamic content - such as traffic guidance information - which is imported from the gate operation system, an existing in-house development of the port. As part of the work package for intelligent traffic control, more video scanning gates for trucks and trailers will be installed in the Ostuferhafen and at the Schwedenkai. Gates will be erected for rail freight traffic for the first time. New camera systems with optical character recognition (OCR) will support the collection of information on the respective transport units. In the area of port handling, data from the OCR systems will be compared with the terminal operating system in order to minimise distances and reduce mileage-related emissions.

The integration of new components with existing systems - such as the internally developed warehousing software - is of decisive importance for digital mapping and optimisation along the process chain. After all, the Kiel Forest Products Centre handles, stores and distributes quality products from the Swedish paper industry worth about one billion euros per year. Dirk Claus: "The complexity of our RoRo terminals offers ideal conditions for a digital test field in which the future-oriented 5G infrastructure can be established under real conditions. A blueprint for innovative solutions is being created in Kiel and makes the port particularly interesting as an employer for IT specialists." In order to further enrich the D-TECH-BASE project, the PORT OF KIEL is also involved in the Förde 5G project together with the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel and other partners. Among other things, IT systems are to be developed here on a real industrial scale to promote measures in the areas of tracking, cargo handling and IT security. Innovative IT solutions at the port of Kiel are to optimise storage, transfer and retrieval processes and make them more efficient. Progressive digitalisation thus also contributes to the port's sustainability strategy.


Digitest D-Tech-Base / Graphik: Port of Kiel.

About the funding guideline "Digital test fields in ports" (DigiTest):
The funding guideline "Digital Test Fields in Ports" provides the framework for supporting German sea and inland ports in the digitalisation of their infrastructure and their development into data hubs. It thus complements the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure's IHATEC II funding guideline by laying the infrastructure foundations for innovative research and development projects in the field of new port technologies. The primary goal is to establish and expand a technical infrastructure at the ports in the form of digital test fields that enable the testing of Logistics 4.0 innovations under real conditions. Examples include process acceleration, efficiency gains and new ways of controlling logistics processes.

Port of Kiel press release