Port of Antwerp Tests Smart Bracelet for Social Distancing

Source: Port of Antwerp
Source: Port of Antwerp

Published Apr 23, 2020 7:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Antwerp is trialing a digital bracelet designed to ensure social distancing. The port is the first to test the bracelet which can which has been developed by Rombit.

Rombit added new functions to its existing safety bracelet, the Romware ONE, including a function that allows contact tracing. The bracelet is expected to help employees observe the strict precautions laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Whenever employees come too close to one another they receive a warning signal. If someone happens to be infected then a health advisor or trusted confidant can check which work colleagues the person has come in contact with, in order to prevent further infection. 

Privacy is catered for because the bracelet doesn't pass on the location of the wearer or other sensitive information to the employer.

Port of Antwerp CEO Jacques Vandermeiren said: "Innovation and digital transformation are crucial in times of crisis such as these. It is essential to keep the port operational and to ensure that our employees can work safely. We therefore see great potential in this solution and will shortly start trials with a team of operatives." 

Port of Antwerp's total cargo traffic increased by 4.0 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. The increasing growth in container transhipment in particular compensated for the decline in other goods flows, such as conventional general cargo and vehicles. The impact of the corona crisis was felt to be limited in these first three months of the year.

With a growth of 9.5 percent in TEU and 9.4 percent in tonnage, container traffic remains by far the largest segment in the port of Antwerp. There was an increase in pharmaceutical products and e-commerce, and the demand for healthy food and food with a long shelf life continues to rise. With the exception of a slight decline from the Far East (-2.2 percent), all sailing areas experienced strong growth.

In the first quarter of 2020, 3,476 seagoing ships called at the port of Antwerp, some 1.2 percent less compared to the first quarter of 2019. The gross tonnage of these ships decreased by 3.4 percent to 98 million.

The port anticipates that the impact of the pandemic will become visible in the second quarter due to canceled sailings, the stoppage of important industrial sectors in Western Europe such as the automotive sector and changing consumer patterns.