South American group Wilson Sons has started using digital twins and bathymetric data in Brazilian ports to optimise dredging and tug operations
It has acquired minority equity participation in Israel-based start-up, Docktech, to gain access to its digital twin technology. Wilson Sons intends to combine this with depth measurements from its harbour tugs to recognise patterns in seabed changes in ports, improving navigational safety and reducing the need for harbour dredging.
Wilson Sons said it will be able to understand the silting behaviour of Brazilian ports, predicting how certain factors could affect navigation conditions and security. “The worldwide maritime infrastructure still does not offer tools capable of accurately determining the real depth of the access channels to the ports and the mooring berths,” said Wilson Sons executive director of the tugboats business unit Márcio Castro.
“With the Docktech solution, it is possible to make this measurement more precisely and avoid under-utilising ship’s cargo capacity and wasting dredging resources,” he explained.
Docktech technology has already been implemented in the ports of Santos and Rio Grande. “In both locations, we have already obtained encouraging results,” said Mr Castro. “The plan is to implement the solution in the coming weeks in Rio de Janeiro and Açu and Vitória ports. Subsequently, we will expand to all places where Wilson Sons operates,” he added.
Wilson Sons tugboats operates 80 tugs in 25 locations in Brazil. These tugs will collect and process bathymetric data in the ports. Then, using Docktech’s algorithm, managers can monitor in real time the depth of the mooring berths and waterways access, predicting changes by recognising patterns in the data.
Wilson Sons is advanced in adopting digitalisation technologies. It has invested in a Tugboat Operations Center to monitor vessels 24 hours a day, for greater safety and efficient operations.
It also has a Maritime Improvement Center, composed of its own manoeuvre simulator, capable of predicting different operational scenarios. This is used to systematically train its staff of maritime professionals, managers, and support teams, and contributes to projects of industry stakeholders.
In mid-2020, Wilson Sons acquired a minority share in AIDrivers, a start-up specialised in the development of autonomous mobility systems for port equipment. Before making company investments, Wilson Sons identified more than 400 high potential start-ups in the port and maritime segment in several countries.
“This milestone is another step for our company to become a reference in providing solutions for the optimisation of port and maritime infrastructure,” said Wilson Sons tugboats division commercial manager Eduardo Valença. “In addition, other start-ups are still on the company’s radar.”
Tug and digitalisation technologies will be discussed during Riviera’s first ITS TUGTECHNOLOGY Webinar Week on 29-31 March - use this link for more details and to register for these webinars