The Port of London Authority (PLA), the controller of the tidal section of the River Thames, has signed a contract with Kongsberg Norcontrol (KNC) for new Vessel Traffic Services equipment (VTS). 

The new equipment will fit out the “future-proofed Port Control Centre” according to the PLA’s modernisation plan. 

Thames Vision 2050 is a net-zero plan for the port authority, which also encompasses safety, improved access, and technological updates. 

As part of the Vision 2050 plan, the Marine Centre Transformation Programme is described as a “multi-million pound and multi-disciplined scheme” to update VTS and the port’s control systems. It is expected to be completed in 2026. 

The Vessel Traffic Services provide operators with information on developing traffic situations across the port area covered, to improve the safety and efficiency of navigation, as well as to protect the marine environment.  

Although the price of the contract was not revealed, the PLA’s director of marine operations, Steven Clapperton said it was worth “multi-millions.” 

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“This is a multi-million-pound scheme and will provide London VTS with state-of-the-art equipment, enhancing and improving our operational performance. All delivered into a brand new operations centre ready to accommodate the expected growth of trade on the river, which is set to rise from 55 million tonnes per year to 78 million tonnes by 2050,” Clapperton said. 

The Port Authority’s head of IT, Anthony Fletcher said the VTS was the best-in-class. 

“The technology within the Kongsberg system is tried and tested whilst remaining at the forefront of industry capabilities…  the long-term partnership and support arrangements that will follow this installation put us in good stead for many years to come.”