£1m 5G contract awarded to Port of Tyne


19th March 2024

Topic Enabling Technologies, Transport
Technology 5G
Sector Enabling Technologies, Transport

[Port of Tyne, UK, 19th March 2024] – The Port of Tyne, one of the UK’s leading deep-sea ports, is proud to announce that it has been awarded a £1.159million contract with South Tyneside Council to launch 5G-enabled ‘smart port’ operations.

This announcement cements the Port’s transformative plans to evolve into a 5G-enabled port, ushering in a new era of connectivity and innovation in the maritime industry.

This ground-breaking investment in a port-wide private 5G network positions the Port of Tyne as a pioneer in the UK, primed to grow and positively impact local communities.

The funding forms part of The Department for Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT) ‘5G Innovation Regions (5GIR)’ £37M grant, of which the seven North East local authorities (LA7) successfully bid to receive over £3.7million to support this and three other 5G and advanced wireless connectivity projects across the North East. These activities support 5G and advanced wireless connectivity as key components of the regional digital strategy to build on the key strengths of the region.

The four projects are:

  • 5G-enabled port operations
  • Connected Intelligent Transport Systems
  • 5G-Enabled event production and 360º live broadcasting
  • Advanced wireless sensor technology on farms

The North East’s inaugural 5GIR project aims to drive innovation and unlock opportunities for economic growth through making use of world-class digital infrastructure.

The 5G Port of Tyne project will demonstrate how better digital connectivity can help to drive growth. It will involve 5G cameras and IoT sensors to inspect the port estate, boosting efficiency and reducing fuel usage.

Setting a precedent across the industry, this will enable ports across the country to drive forward plans to become all-electric and reduce environmental impact, whilst enhancing competitiveness and improving safety.

With the deployment of 5G infrastructure throughout its facilities, the Port of Tyne is poised to reap a multitude of benefits that will enhance operational efficiency, safety and sustainability across its operations.

Key benefits of the Port’s transition to a 5G port, include increased competitiveness, faster data transfer speeds, low latency communication, enhanced automation and robotics, improved safety and security, remote operations, and environmental monitoring.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Jo North, director of technology and transformation at Port of Tyne, said: “As we embrace the digital transformation of the maritime industry, the Port of Tyne is proud to lead the way as a 5G-enabled port. We have already invested in a port-wide private 5G network, and this contract will further enhance our capacity to implement innovative opportunities for sustainable growth, benefiting the communities in North and South Tyneside.”

Jo added: “Streamlined operations, improved safety and sustainability are just a few of the benefits this project will bring. Seamless connectivity will enable us to link shipping companies, logistics providers and regulatory bodies from across the globe, leading to more effective collaborations to address global challenges such as climate change and cybersecurity threats.”

Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Tracey Dixon, said: “This milestone represents a significant step forward in our Council’s commitment to innovation, efficiency and sustainability.

“Connecting residents to jobs is one of the five key ambitions of our 2023-2043 South Tyneside Vision, with the intention that residents will have access to good quality jobs, skills and learning. This project will help to grow the Port, maritime and creative industries across the region, offering more employment opportunities for residents.

Patrick Melia, chief executive at Sunderland City Council and digital lead officer for the new North East Combined Authority, added: “We are delighted to be leading on this project, the first of four projects as an official Innovation Region, and utilising our experience of rolling out 5G networks to enhance operations, competitiveness, and opportunities at the Port.

“This is not just of significance to the Port and the wider North East region in establishing a national centre of excellence for the development and adoption of 5G, but also to the wider industry to accelerate the economic, social and wellbeing impact of advanced digital connectivity through rapid adoption and scale-up across key sectors.”


Key benefits of the Port’s transition to a 5G port, include:

  • Increased competitiveness: Implementing 5G technology at the Port will significantly enhance its competitiveness through several key advantages, including more streamlined operations, such as cargo handling, inventory management, and logistics coordination, reducing turnaround times and increasing productivity.
  • Faster data transfer speeds: 5G technology enables lightning-fast data transfer speeds, facilitating real-time monitoring and management of port operations. This ensures that critical information is delivered instantaneously, allowing for swift decision-making and response.
  • Low latency communication: With minimal latency, 5G connectivity supports near-instantaneous communication between devices and systems within the port ecosystem. This enables seamless coordination of activities, reducing delays and optimizing workflow efficiency.
  • Enhanced automation and robotics: The high-speed, low-latency capabilities of 5G enable the deployment of autonomous vehicles, drones, and robotic systems within the port. These technologies can revolutionise cargo handling, inventory management, and maintenance operations, leading to increased productivity and cost savings.
  • Improved safety and security: 5G-powered surveillance cameras, access control systems, and sensor networks enhance the safety and security of the Port of Tyne. Real-time monitoring and analytics enable proactive threat detection and response, ensuring the protection of personnel, assets, and infrastructure.
  • Environmental monitoring: 5G-enabled sensors and IoT devices can monitor environmental parameters such as air quality, water quality, and noise levels in and around the port. This data can be used to implement proactive measures to mitigate environmental impact and promote sustainability.
  • Remote operations: The Port of Tyne’s transition to a 5G port enables remote monitoring and control of port operations, allowing personnel to oversee activities from anywhere with an internet connection. This flexibility enhances operational resilience and enables more efficient resource allocation.


About the North East’s 5GIR projects

  • 5G-Enabled Smart Port Operations: This project will involve 5G cameras and IoT sensors to inspect the port estate, boosting efficiency and reducing fuel usage, will enable ports to drive forward plans to become all-electric and reduce environmental impact, whilst enhancing competitiveness and improving safety.
  • Connected Intelligent Transport System (CITS): With a focus on improving road transport efficiency within cities and between strategically vital industrial locations, such as Nissan and the Port of Tyne, this project is set to redefine regional transportation dynamics.
  • 5G-Enabled Event Production and 360º Live Broadcasting: To showcase the potential of 5G to enable live broadcast of high bandwidth 360º video content to a range of novel display surfaces. Building on the region’s flourishing creative sector, this will create an incredible resource for artists, creatives and digital pioneers to engage the public in ground-breaking new ways.
  • Advanced Wireless Sensor Technology on Farms: Embracing advanced wireless sensors, this initiative aims to revolutionise farming practices. Empowering farmers with real data collected from on-farm crop, soil, livestock and environmental sensors, it seeks to drive automation, boost efficiency and enhance environmental sustainability. This project will be a testbed for innovation companies to pilot technologies within a farm environment to accelerate the new developments to meet a national requirement to develop a sustainable, productive and greener agricultural sector.