Smart Operations for Smart Ferries

Maritime Innovations from Hamburg

Sensors for digital steamers of the future.

Eight lines with 20 shore boats connect people, workplaces, attractions and cultural highlights around the clock in Germany’s largest seaport.

Up to 26 ferries depart 180,000 times a year from the Landungsbrücken.

Up to 26 ferries depart 180,000 times a year from the Landungsbrücken, including to the Airbus factory and Blankenese, the fish market & museum port, the Elbphilharmonie & the musical theater.

133 years after the HADAG Elbe ferries were founded in Speicherstadt, the distinctive „irons“ go digital. As electric as the fleet of port ferries is, it will be networked in the future with even greater safety, reliability and comfort. On board on the bridge is the young maritime service provider NautilusLog:

It is a dream project of the young Hamburg entrepreneur Otto Klemke. In 2017, the media computer scientist discusses the future in the still young Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg with Marius Eschen, innovation manager at the Hamburg Port Authority HPA. One idea: digital support for ships at the Port of Hamburg. The linchpin is the newly developed logging app from NautilusLog. Two years later, it becomes concrete.

The partner of the new realtime capabilities is the city ferry HADAG

On route 75 from the Landungsbrücken via the Ephi to the Oderhöft in the middle of the port.

From the end of August ’21, various CISS sensors will be on board. Up to 10 industrial measuring instruments will record accelerations, vibrations and sounds, among other things. Maritime logistics specialists from the Frauenhofer Institute CML of the Technical University of Hamburg and innovation management from the HPA are also onboard.

Hamburg can do it. Real sailing times in any wind & any weather.

The course is clear: With the NautilusLog app on the captain’s smartphone, sensors will monitor the operation of the port ferry from October ’21 - first as a live test in a demonstration.

The real-time data will end up in the app’s digital log. They will then be sent to the Fraunhofer CML in Harburg for evaluation. From the ship’s operational data - such as speed, direction, destinations, status quo and the CML provides qualified calculations of arrival times in real time (ETA).

With the help of sensors, a smartphone and the digital logbook of Speicherstadt, Airbus employees and tourists at the gates of the world will in future receive reliable information about the arrival and departure of their ferries.

What is self-evident for buses and trains in the HVV app and Google Maps will also work with the port ferries in the future. A real convenience for passengers and a piece of security in the operation of the eight HADAG lines on the Norderelbe. A good opportunity to share this with experts from all over the world.

Hamburg wraps it up. Real-time data, even without a mobile network.

As with any project, there are one or two challenges with Smart Ferries: what happens if the data transmission on the Elbe in the Port of Hamburg fails and thousands of visitors access the networks at the Hafengeburtstag and the Blue Port?

This is exactly what NautilusLog has taken care of. The solution now demonstrated with a digital logbook works even without a cell phone network. Problem recognized, problem solved. How can you ensure that different sensors from different manufacturers communicate with a common backend via separate interfaces? In the IT industry, this is not always obvious.

NautilusLog, has recognized this and is pushing for a unified standard so that sensors and interfaces can talk to servers, regardless of manufacturer.

Hamburg shows it: real opportunities on board and on shore. Otto Klemke is chairman of the responsible working group at the international standardization organization ISO and has been responsible for ISO 4891 for more than four years, the contents of which have been ready since October ’21. Another innovation from the Speicherstadt.

Entirely new possibilities are opening up for operators of maritime fleets to make their work safer and more reliable and to offer passengers more comfort

As soon as data is available in real time, partners can do a lot with it. In the future, additional vessels can be automatically requested or diverted during ongoing operations, captains can be ordered or personnel planning can be adjusted.

For the operational control of the Hochbahn subsidiary HADAG in the Hamburg fish market, this means

  • fewer phone calls,

  • less coordination and

  • faster response,

so that in case of bottlenecks, waiting times at the berths are reduced and liability is increased.

In addition to the possibilities for Smart Ferries, the evaluation of data every other minute also offers special advantages for the large ships next to the container terminals, i.e. Smart Vessels: if ferries in regular service continuously deliver new data from station to station for hours, this also helps to optimize the algorithms for evaluating the voyages of large merchant ships. Because a more accurate time measurement means a more accurate assessment in similar situations of cargo ships, tankers or bulkers.

Sensors and a digital logbook ensure reliable operation of small „steamers“ with 250 passengers in the Port of Hamburg, but also of very large „steamers“ with 24,000 containers on the world’s seas. These are innovations from Hamburg’s Speicherstadt for the future of shipping: NautilusLog – Smart operations for smart ferries and smart ships.

NautilusLog app example screen on smartphone

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