Port of Rotterdam – Smart Bollard

The Port of Rotterdam (PoR) has developed the world’s first Smart Bollard. The Smart Bollard is developed in partnership with Straatman BV as part of PoR’s efforts to increase safety at berth and knowledge related to moored vessels. This innovation is part of PoR’s Infra Innovation program which aims to optimize design, construction, management and use of maritime infrastructure.

Until now it was not possible to continuously measure mooring line loads of moored vessels. The lack of measured data means that designs are based on maximum forces based on the mooring lines’ MBL or computer models. With vessels getting bigger, it is important to have better insights in mooring loads. The project started in 2019 when PoR asked partners in the port to explore potential solutions. Straatman focused on a new concept for bollards, as bollards are the main interface between vessel and the assets and are owned by the port.

The Smart Bollard is similar to a standard bollard and is permanently installed on quays; however it measures the loads of the mooring lines on the bollard. The measurements are communicated real-time and the Smart Bollard can be integrated in existing port control systems. The application can be used for all seagoing vessels, such as container and bulk carriers. In that way, the Smart Bollard increases safety by real-time monitoring of the vessel. Real-time monitoring allows to monitor safety at berth, helps to avoid unsafe situations and allows targeted use of mitigation measures (only) when needed.

The Smart Bollard provides a better understanding on mooring forces, which will result in more efficient use of the port. This will, for example, give the possibility to moor larger vessels on quays. After being successfully tested at Straatman, the first Smart Bollard has been installed on the quay at Hutchison Ports ECT Delta terminal, in January 2021.