Tianjin Port Group and Huawei agree deal to build a digital twin of the port

Tianjin Port Group and Huawei announced this week that the two companies will deepen cooperation to build a digital twin of the port, making it more automated and intelligent. Yang Jiemin, VP of Tianjin Port Group, explained that this plan consists of three parts: Construction of new automated terminals, upgrading of traditional terminals, and digital transformation.

What is technology landscape at the Port of Tianjin?

The Section C Terminal in the Beijiang Port Area of the Port of Tianjin was the first smart, zero-carbon port terminal across the planet. It entered large-scale commercial operations in October 2021, and has been stably operating ever since. 5G and L4 autonomous driving technologies are applied at this terminal to make it both safer and more efficient.

At the terminal, container cranes operate automatically and intelligent robots of the horizontal transportation system come and go. Remotely controlled quay cranes lift loaded containers from ships and put them the onto intelligent robots for horizontal transportation.

Supported by the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, these robots are guided to automatic locking/unlocking stations to unlock containers and then to the container yard along optimal driving routes that are calculated in real time. The entire process runs smoothly.

What does the partnership mean for the Port of Tianjin?

Yang Jiemin explained how the new solution, which combines 5G and L4 autonomous driving technologies, has for the first time been put into large-scale commercial application in a partially public scenario at the Section C Terminal. This has provided a new model for upgrading and transforming existing traditional container terminals worldwide.

“These innovations being used at the Port of Tianjin are having a huge impact on the port industry, creating new value for ports by improving operating environments, driving green and low-carbon development, and increasing operational efficiency. We believe that these practices will promote the intelligent development of the global port industry,” said Yang.

Yue Kun, CTO of Huawei’s Smart Road, Waterway & Port BU, commented, “Ports are a vital link in maritime transportation, connecting trade and supply markets across the globe.”

“Building more efficient smart ports is becoming an increasingly pressing requirement for the global supply chain. Section C Terminal of the Port of Tianjin has now been operating stably for over a year. This proves that 5G and L4 autonomous driving have been successfully adopted by industries in China, and are creating true commercial and social value.”

Yue believes that this progress will benefit various industries, with next-generation digital technologies, such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI), combined to solve industry problems, promote digital industry transformation and upgrading, and generate social value.

As a major modern port, the Port of Tianjin boasts 300,000-ton-class terminals with a channel depth of 22 meters. It has 213 berths of various types. In 2022, its container throughput exceeded 21 million TEUs, ranking among the top 10 ports worldwide.