This Lancashire port is all set to go digital to help ships dock safely

The company which runs one of Lancashire’s ports is to use new technology to help pilots guide ships to safe harbour.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 4:55 am

Associated British Ports, which runs Fleetwood, is the first ports group in Europe to use a new digital Master Pilot Exchange programme developed by Ports of Auckland, eMPX, simplifying the current process.

The software is already in use in New Zealand and Australia, now ABP’s 21 ports, including Barrow and Silloth on the Irish Sea will become the first European-based ports to roll out and use the software, following a successful trial completed in 2021.

The system provides pilots with an entirely digital experience, eliminating the need for paper-based processes and will be rolled out to all ABP ports by the end of the year.

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Fleetwood's port is to get a new digital system for pilots

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Using an iPad, pilots will be able to plan ahead of a vessel’s arrival at port, before sharing the plans and port data with ships’ masters, with the ability to update the plan if a ship is delayed. Data can also be stored, with all data then stored in the cloud, readily available for future reference.

James Clark, Technical Authority Marine, said: “It has been great working with Ports of Auckland to develop this new software for ABP’s pilots, and we are delighted to work with the team in New Zealand to make it happen. Not only does this simplify the process in terms of a paper-to-digital process, but we will now be in a position to send ships information about their planned passage ahead of time, which all contributes to better bridge resource management as well as providing our customers with better information.”

Jason Ranston, Business Manager, Ports of Auckland, said: "At Ports of Auckland, we have been thoroughly impressed with the deep level of insight that ABP’s pilots have been able to provide, as well as the commitment to support the ongoing development of eMPX.