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Brazilian ports get the digital twins treatment

Wilson Sons, the largest integrated port and maritime logistics operator in Brazil, has bought a minority stake in Docktech, an Israeli startup. The deal also includes a commercial exclusivity agreement to install Docktech’s technology throughout Brazilian ports.

With the digital twins technology developed by Docktech and, through the data collected by its fleet of 80 tugboats, Wilson Sons said yesterday it will be able to understand the pattern and the silting behaviour of Brazilian ports, predicting how certain factors could affect navigation conditions and security.

“The worldwide maritime infrastructure still does not offer tools capable of accurately determining the real depth of the access channels to the ports and the mooring berths. With the Docktech solution, it is possible to make this measurement more precisely and, thus, avoid underutilising ship’s cargo capacity and wasting dredging resources”, explained Márcio Castro, executive director of the tugboats business unit from Wilson Sons.

The technology is already running in the ports of Santos and Rio Grande and is set to be rolled out in Rio de Janeiro, Açu and Vitória.

Wilson Sons tugboats collect and process depth measurements of the ports where they are operating and, using the Docktech algorithm, monitor, in real time, the depth of the mooring berths and waterways access. With this data, it is possible to predict changes by recognising patterns, ensuring greater safety for navigation.

This is Wilson Sons’ second recent investment in a startup. In mid-2020, the company also acquired a minority share in AIDrivers, a startup specialised in the development of autonomous mobility systems for port equipment.

Before making these investments, Wilson Sons identified more than 400 high potential startups in the port and maritime segment in several countries. 

“This milestone is another step for the company to become a reference in providing solutions for the optimisation of port and maritime infrastructure. In addition, other startups are still on the company’s radar,” said Eduardo Valença, commercial manager of Wilson Sons’ tugboats division. 

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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