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Logistics News

Sohar employs drone technology for port monitoring

SOHAR Port represented Oman’s shipping and logistics sector at Hypermotion Dubai, a platform which connected founders, disruptors and innovators to discuss cutting-edge technology.

Held as part of Expo Dubai 2020,  a panel discussion focused on the GCC’s emergence as a drones hub where Eng. Sufyan Al Mamari, Senior Engineer of Asset Management at SOHAR Port and Freezone outlined the success of the Port so far with drone technology.

He was joined by Khalifa Al Qama, Director of Dubai Future Labs, Dubai Future Foundation;  Rabih Bou Rached, CEO, Falcon Eye Drones (FEDS); and Michael Anger, CTO and Founder, Unisphere, in a discussion moderated by Lucy Hedges, Technology Journalist with Metro UK and BBC.

Ali Al Yamani- Executive Technical Manager at SOHAR, said: “We have seen the impact that cutting-edge technology can have on our industry and drive efficiencies throughout the sector.

There is important research and trial studies being undertaken at ports around the world to discover the capabilities of drones and how it can be applied to our operations.

“SOHAR Port hosts more than 3,000 vessel calls each year with a gross registered tonnage of approximated 85 million. In order to continue growing, we need to become more digital and maximise our resources, and drone and AI technology can be a seamless solution to our operations.”

SOHAR became the first in the Sultanate of Oman to adopt drone technology as part of the Port’s essential monitoring system. Allowing real-time observation and analysis of the infrastructure, security and environmental situation across the docks, drones have proven efficient and capable of reaching areas humans cannot while offering a new perspective of the entire complex.

Additionally, the use of remote-controlled drones offer an eagle eye view that can detect, photograph and record any damages which allows for teams to respond quickly to specific areas. The technology even allows for algorithm-based analysis of changes to the infrastructure which leads to greater preventative maintenance and problem solving to be carried out throughout the complex.

Covering deep waters as well,  underwater drones are used to inspect and perform maintenance tasks, especially in areas where it is too difficult, dangerous or undesireable to use manned solutions, such as under jetties, bridges and alongside or underneath vessels.

Equipped with a camera, the small unmanned vehicles are able to send images to the quay where problems can be solved quickly and up-to-the-minute status reports can be compiled.

This data-driven approach has helped SOHAR maximise efficiency and predict future maintenance through lifecycle reports which also allows port engineers to plan upgrades and guard against potential service interruptions.