Huawei digital twin for Tianjin Port

  • January 24, 2023
  • William Payne

Huawei and Tianjin Port Group are collaborating to build a digital twin of Tianjin Port, the largest port in Northern China and the maritime gateway to Beijing. The two companies will use the digital twin to increase automation of port operations, and add machine learning features.

According to Yang Jiemin, Vice President of Tianjin Port Group, the plan comprises three parts: construction of new automated terminals, upgrading of traditional terminals, and comprehensive digital transformation.

Tianjin Port is 170 kilometres from Beijing, and covers 121 square kilometres. It handles around 500 million tonnes of cargo, and around 21 million containers a year. It is the largest man-made port in China, and one of the largest in the world.

The Section C Terminal in the Beijiang Port Area of the Port of Tianjin was the world’s first smart, zero-carbon port terminal. It entered large-scale commercial operations in October 2021. 5G and L4 autonomous driving technologies have been applied at this terminal to make it safer and more efficient. At the terminal, container cranes operate automatically and intelligent lifting and transport robots come and go. Remotely controlled quay cranes lift loaded containers from cargo ships and put them onto the 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.

According to Yang Jiemin, the new solution combining 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, said “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 one year. This proves that 5G and L4 autonomous driving have already 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 AI, combined to solve industry problems, promote digital industry transformation and upgrading, and generate social value.