The Future of Innovation in UK Ports

The Digital Age

Tom Rawlin crane operator simulator session Tilbury 4A huge technological shift has taken place within our industry in the last two decades, with UK ports harnessing digitalisation to transform processes and efficiencies across the sector. Keeping up to date with the latest innovations in the digital age has allowed us to remain competitive during this significant period of modernisation – and we remain committed to embracing the digital age for the continued benefit of our staff, stakeholders and customers.

Innovations in technology can be seen across Shoreham Port, from sharing data more effectively, streamlining day to day processes, connecting automated systems and enhancing communications. Our state of the art Track-A-Pack stock control system enables our customers to handle cargoes quickly and efficiently with a speedy turnaround.

In more recent years, we have begun to harness solar and wind energy. Over 9,000 solar panels and two wind turbines have now been installed to date. This will help reduce our carbon footprint, with the generated electricity being used at the Port and also by local businesses and residents.

Embracing New Technology 

We are utilising new technology to enhance staff training and reduce the risk of injury to our staff. Thomas Rawlins, Operations & Training Manager was one of the first members of the team to trial a new state of the art crane simulator in February. Trainees get the chance to experience a number of scenarios which may take a lifetime to come across in real life, such as adverse weather conditions, faulty controls within the cab, or an emergency situation within the vessel or on the quay.

Thomas (pictured) was delighted to receive training on an STS (Ship to shore) and desktop simulator for 360 excavator and various other types of plant.

Thomas commented "It’s a very useful tool for training new staff and ensuring that Ports like Shoreham remain at the forefront of reviewing new technology and how we can use it within the Port. It fits well with our drive for continuous improvement in health and safety and innovation within the Port."

Efficiency & Safety 

Tom Rawlin crane operator simulator session Tilbury 5Simulator training removes the risk of injury to our staff and chance of damage to the plant or equipment; it also has a proven impact on efficiency. Vessel discharge times are unaffected by simulator training, key performance indicators are still met and the machine doesn’t need to be removed to enable training to take place. CM Labs Vortex Simulators have even been used in schools and colleges, giving the future workforce a taste of the skills required to operate heavy machinery safely in a port setting.   

CM Labs commented "CM Labs Vortex Simulators provide training in a realistic, simulated port environment that allows you to train for increased safety and operational efficiency, in a risk-free learning environment. From ship loading/unloading to horizontal transport to yard management, CM Labs’ solutions can be used to train employees through the entire terminal workflow".

A Bright Future

DSC01465Looking ahead to the future, it would appear almost certain that developments within the fields of automation and digitalisation will have an important impact on the maritime industry. We are already proudly on track to lead at the forefront of any technological innovations that improve staff safety, efficiency and customer service.


Rodney Lunn, Chief Executive commented "It is important that we train our staff and provide them with the right skills to embrace new technologies as we look to the future of UK shipping. The STS simulator is a fantastic example of an innovative piece of equipment that will reduce the risk of injury while ensuring fast and efficient training and operations in the future."