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First 5G innovations proposed by Orange Belgium in the Port of Antwerp

From augmented field operators to connected tugboats, Orange Belgium and its industrial partners have unveiled some unique applications co-created in the Port of Antwerp, using Orange Belgium’s 5G network.

The 5G network rolled out by Orange Belgium is the first large scale standalone network of the country, meaning it offers, alongside high speed and low latency, the unique network slicing capability that makes the network ultra-reliable for businesses.

Bart De Wever, Mayor of Antwerp, commented, “Orange’s 5G can and will strengthen the competitive position of the Port of Antwerp in the much needed relaunch of the economy. Therefore, with the new federal government in place, I hope that the deployment of 5G will not be delayed any further”.

Port of Antwerp

The Industry 4.0 Campus is nested in the zone of the Port of Antwerp, the second largest port in Europe and an innovation centered logistics hub, which immediately seized the potential of Orange Belgium’s 5G.

Together, both partners decided to connect a tugboat of the Antwerp Port Authority to the 5G network, allowing the ship to stream real-time images and other data (radar, sonar) to the control room.

Using this real-time information, the Antwerp Port Authority can increase the efficiency and the safety of the towing of vessels across the port. It allows it to increase the number of ships entering and leaving the premises each day in the safest possible way.

Erwin Verstraelen, chief digital and innovation officer of the Antwerp Port Authority commented, At the Port of Antwerp, we are looking at a number of concrete 5G applications, such as smart camera’s, drones and autonomous ships and trucks.

“It is important to learn now about this technology as a company and gradually prepare for the arrival of it, because the great potential lies in B2B applications. It’s also important to realise that 5G is part of our country’s digital infrastructure and that we cannot afford to miss the boat there.”


The high-tech polymer manufacturer Covestro, decided to use the potential of 5G to allow its field operators to get real time access to all the information they need.

Field inspections of chemical plants require a significant amount of technical information about the plant equipment and require large expertise from the field operator.

Using the 5G network, Covestro’s operators are equipped with a tablet or with smart glasses and connected in real-time to large amounts of technical data and videos, including 3D models of the installation to be serviced.

With 5G, the field operators can also even call in remote assistance. Such access to crucial information significantly improves the work processes and the remote assistance lowers the need for physical presence in the chemical production environment. 

Peter Verdonck, venture manager of the Covestro aniline expansion project said, “First of all we were amazed by the strength of the 5G-coverage in our outdoor production installations, even in between the steel structures.

“It is clear now that 5G will offer us the opportunity to enter a new, paperless era. Via an online, fast and secure data network we will be able to make sure that field operators in the future always have the latest technical information instantly available on the spot.

“Being able to also call in external online assistance will also have a great added value. And by making use of smart glasses, our field operators and technicians will furthermore also have their hands free to work. We are convinced that 5G will bring a crucial transformation to our industry.”

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