Situational Awareness Information National Technology Service (SAINTS) has launched a project that seeks to pilot smart digital initiatives to help increase trade and economic growth in ports located in North East England.

Port of Berwick, Port of Blyth, Port of Sunderland, Teesport, Port of Tyne, as well as digital and industry experts, academia, and regional authorities are part of the new Smart Port North East Testbed project.

Partners are expected to test scalable, satellite-based smart solutions that will work within a larger programme to identify four key outcomes for the North East ports.

The proposed outcomes include new business opportunities and hinterland engagement, promoting the expansion of green energy and low-carbon solutions, improved customer experiences, as well as operational excellence and security in and around the port.

The region currently boasts a growing space cluster with support from the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence in NETPark, Sedgefield, England. The centre is operated by County Durham’s economic development organisation Business Durham.

The North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, along with a group of companies, recently launched SAINTS to use data from satellites and Earth-based sensors to solve major problems faced by businesses, governments and communities.

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“SAINTS illustrates the important role the region’s fast-growing satellite and space sector can play in finding solutions.”

Business Durham Innovation director Catherine Johns said: “Ports play a vital role in the regional and national economy, providing trading gateways to the rest of the world, with a massive impact on local supply chains and communities.

“The launch of SAINTS illustrates the important role the region’s fast-growing satellite and space sector can play in finding solutions to local issues and developing them to solve global problems in a sustainable way.

“The test bed provides an opportunity to pool the knowledge built up in one of our longest established industries with that of one of our newest.”

Smart Port North East Testbed is designed to examine multiple technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, unmanned marine vessels, and airborne drones for use in port environments.