Trelleborg and Cavotec are to install automated mooring systems at quays 5, 12 and 13 of the Old City Harbour at Port of Tallinn in Estonia.

The maritime engineering firms will implement the automated mooring systems by the end of next year. Each quay will come with six vacuum pads that can moor, hold and release the vessel.

Viking Line’s Viking XPRS will be the first ship to start using the new system in spring 2020. Tallink’s shuttle ships and Eckerö Line’s vessel will be able to use the automated system from the end of this year.

A similar automated vacuum mooring system will be deployed at Helsinki West Harbour.

Port of Tallinn infrastructure development division head Peeter Nõgu explained that technological development has contributed to the growth of the maritime sector, including the mooring processes of ships.

He said: “The new automated mooring equipment installed in the Old City Harbour will fasten our mooring operations while also requiring less man-hours and contributing to environmental sustainability.

“The new systems are primarily used by the ships sailing on our busiest route between Tallinn and Helsinki, where every extra minute saved either at sea or in port is highly valued.”

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The shipping industry currently uses either automated vacuum mooring or automated magnetic mooring systems.

The Port of Tallinn has selected a vacuum-pad based system, while the magnetic mooring systems are still at an early stage of development and use.

Nõgu added: “The automated vacuum systems have a track record of almost 25 years and their benefits are well known; the speed and safety of mooring, a positive effect on the environment due to the reduced use of ship fuel and a lesser need for human resources to manually moor the ship, thereby also providing a higher level of workplace safety.”

Co-financed by the EU Connecting Europe Facility, the new mooring systems are being installed in the framework of TWIN-PORT 3 project.

Ferry operators Tallink, Viking Line and Eckerö Line are collaborating with the ports of Tallinn and Helsinki and the City of Helsinki. They have set aside €61.2m for the installation of the automated mooring system.