Port of Santos, Wilson Sons and DockTech sign technicalcooperation agreement for the use of pioneering technology inBrazil

  • 09/12/2021
  • 9 minutes

The solution uses data collected by Wilson Sons’ tugboats to monitor the
Port of Santos’ navigation channel depth in real time.

The Santos Port Authority (SPA), Wilson Sons and DockTech signed on Thursday (09/12)
a technical cooperation agreement for the improvement and use of unprecedented
seabed monitoring technology. The agreement formalizes the partnership that aims the
study and collaboration between the three companies to improve the solution for real time monitoring of the operational depth of the navigation channel and access to
docking berths at the Port of Santos. Developed by the Israeli startup DockTech, the
solution maps the navigation channel depth in real time and is able to understand the
silting pattern of ports, predicting how seabed variations affect navigation safety and
cargo transportation.

The SPA CEO, Fernando Biral, said the initiative is part of SPA’s strategy to join forces
with the port community and public and private agents in the region to find standards
and similarities in services, enabling information sharing to rationalize investments and
accelerate the innovation process in search of greater operational efficiency. “This
partnership is an important milestone because it shows that together we can do more
and better to put the Port of Santos on a new level of performance and technological
innovation”, said Biral.

The collaboration with Wilson Sons and DockTech is the first initiative regulated by the
SPA norm that establishes partnership guidelines for the development of technological
innovations in the Port.

Wilson Sons has a minority stake in DockTech and a commercial exclusivity agreement
with the company for implementation in Brazilian ports. The investment is part of the
Company’s strategy to foster innovation and development of port and maritime

The initial tests with the technology in Brazil occurred in the Port of Santos and now,
with the technical cooperation agreement, the partnership will be expanded. “Having
the largest port in Latin America as a strategic partner is very significant for us and an
opportunity to improve the tool”, says Márcio Castro, executive director of Wilson Sons’
towage division.

DockTech’s digital twin technology uses bathymetric data (depth measurement)
collected by Wilson Sons’ tugboats to create a dynamic virtual representation of the
Port’s seabed. By analyzing this data with artificial intelligence-based algorithms it is
possible to identify the occurrence of silting, anticipate dredging needs and ensure
greater safety to navigation.

“The world’s port infrastructure does not yet have instruments capable of monitoring
the depth of navigation channels and access to docking berths in real time. DockTech’s
solution makes dynamic measurement possible and thus avoid operational draft
restrictions, increase navigation safety and prevent the waste of dredging resources”,
explains Uri Yoselevich, co-founder and CEO of DockTech.

The hydrographic survey campaigns, of category A and special order, which are used to
monitor the depth of the access channel to the Port of Santos and to inspect and
measure the dredging services, cost around R$ 2 million per year. Biral explains that the
new technology will enable SPA to improve its planning and invest more assertively and
efficiently in maintaining the depth of the Port’s navigation channel.

In addition to reducing costs, another benefit pointed out by Wilson Sons executive is
the possibility of anticipating scenarios and understanding how meteoceanographic
conditions affect the silting of the channel. “The tool feeds us with data 24 hours a day.
This allows a dynamic visualization of what is happening in the port. It’s like replacing a
photo with a real-time movie”, explains Márcio.

The Port Authority will cooperate in the technical analysis and improvement of the tool,
suggesting adaptations that meet the SPA needs and proposing new applications and
possible gains enabled by the use of the solution.

The deputy executive secretary of the Brazilian Infrastructure Ministry, Felipe Queiroz,
got to see the technology up close. “The innovation agenda is a priority of the Federal
Government, and this type of initiative has the full support of the Infrastructure
Ministry. It is a major advance by SPA to make Santos a more modern and safer port,
and operationally more intelligent”, he highlights.

Norm for partnerships – The norm that establishes guidelines for partnerships at the
Port of Santos, published in September, opens up a range of possibilities for the
innovation ecosystem that aims to intensify cooperation between the SPA, port
terminals, scientific and technological institutions, research institutes and startups in
search of shared solutions for the Port of Santos’ activities.

This regulation is part of the innovation agenda that SPA launched in 2019 with the
digitalization of services and debureaucratization of norms with the goal of moving
towards the Port 4.0 model. The Port Authority also created an Innovation Committee
that will focus on technological solutions initiatives.

Another important aspect of this process is the Port-City relationship, since it establishes
a greater involvement with universities through a dialogue about the new port worker
profile, so that universities can prepare undergraduates to fill the new jobs generated
by the terminals.

About Wilson Sons
Wilson Sons is the largest integrated port and maritime logistics operator in the Brazilian
market and offers supply chain solutions, with over 180 years of experience. The
Company provides a complete range of services to companies operating in the oil and
gas industry, in international trade and in the domestic economy. With national
presence, it acts in an innovative way, following market trends.

About the Santos Port Authority
The Santos Port Authority is a public company linked to the National Secretariat of Ports
and Waterway Transport (SNPTA) of the Brazilian Infrastructure Ministry (Minfra). It is
responsible for the logistical planning and for managing the infrastructure of the Port of
Santos, the largest in Latin America, through which 28% of Brazilian trade passes. With
7.8 million square meters, the port complex is located 70 kilometers from Greater São
Paulo and has 55 terminals, 41 of which are leased, 8 dry ports and 6 private use
terminals (TUPs), located on two shores, one in Santos (right) and the other in Guarujá

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