According to KOPT Chairman Vineet Kumar, night sailing between Kolkata and Sagar island would begin at Kolkata Port, now known as the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP), within the next three months. Once ships can sail overnight, cargo traffic and port efficiency would both significantly increase, Kumar continued.
“The first phase of the navigation till Budge Budge-will start in the next three months. In six months, the entire route Sagar, Diamond Harbour, Budge Budge and Kolkata-will have the night navigation system in place,” said the SMP chairman.
An SMP team recently returned from the Belgian port of Antwerp, which is also a riverine port like Kolkata, to learn more about the operation of the port’s night navigation system. With the help of virtual buoys erected on the Hooghly River as part of the Rs 17.3 crore project, ships would be able to enter and exit Kolkata port around-the-clock, improving operations.
Ships cannot leave the harbor at night without the ability to navigate at night. Nor can vessels sail between Sagar and Kolkata at night.
The night navigation system is currently accessible up until Haldia. Up to Kolkata, which is further upstream, it will be extended. According to Kumar, KOPT is purchasing software from Antwerp Port for this purpose in order to build shore signals, transits, and buoy illumination so that night navigation can begin between Budge Budge and Kolkata in three months and along the full Kolkata-Sagar route in the following six months. For this system, the Qster software will be modified. Meanwhile, he stated, “Another team of five pilots will be dispatched to Antwerp.”
The virtual buoys will be positioned at various points along the river to assist ships as they navigate the 130 km between Sagar Island and the Kidder pore dock system’s dangerous bends and bars (KDS). rather than genuine lit-up buoys. Their digital representations will solely exist on computers, saving KOPT from having to send staff to do the work.
Similar to Antwerp Port, night navigation will make use of a digital 3D simulation of its docks that is performed in real time with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI). It can pinpoint a ship’s precise location and determine its arrival and departure times, saving a ship at least $10,000 while increasing import and export activity at the port.