Antwerp tests barge ID system
The Antwerp Port Authority has started the pilot phase of its Inland Automatic Identification System (AIS) for barges in the harbor area.
Use of AIS by barges will not become mandatory until Jan. 1, 2012. However, the pilot phase will make it possible for the industry to prepare for the full-scale introduction and to 'fine-tune' the system, the port authority said.
AIS, which is part of the port's Barge Master Plan, automatically transmits information on the name, position, speed and direction of travel of the barge.
The system is expected to enhance safety within the port and permit efficient vessel traffic management. It will also be used to help the port more efficiently manage berths and optimize lock operations. 'In the longer term it will be possible to monitor and direct traffic flows proactively from a barge coordination center,' the port authority said.
Belgium's Flemish government has promoted the system by granting subsidies for purchase and installation of the AIS equipment.