AGT Blog

AGT Leverages Cloud-Based Analytics to Optimize Barge Operations and Port Ecosystems

admin | October 15, 2014

Ports and waterways are at the heart of local economies, and barges are the most efficient, least expensive and most environmentally friendly way for goods to be transported between them. Despite the importance of barges, they are currently off-the-grid with no tracking or monitoring system in place to understand the location and status of barges within ports and inland waterways, leading to limited planning and prediction capabilities, underutilized assets, safety issues and water traffic. These big data challenges undermine entire port ecosystems, which are necessary for supporting regional economic growth, and the long-term feasibility of barge transportation.

AGT’s SmartPort solution leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) to help port operators and barge, shipping and terminal companies identify, analyze and monitor barges and mooring space to track operational efficiency. SmartPort uses wireless networks to seamlessly collect information from multiple IoT sensors, and combines this data with information stored in the port subsystems. The collected data is analyzed to identify and visualize the most relevant information. Using advanced IoT analytics, the visualized data provides a comprehensive and constantly updated picture of the situation and environment, increasing situational awareness.

SmartPort unlocks relevant operational patterns and generates actionable insights using IoT-specific analytics, enabling decision-makers to anticipate events, optimize barge operations and mooring space, and manage anomalies. Here is a quick look at the capabilities SmartPort’s IoT analytics yields for the entire port ecosystem:

  • For Port Operations: SmartPort uses RFID tags, combined with port-wide WiFi coverage and real-time locating system (RTLS) analytics to identify and track barges in ports and on inland canals and rivers continuously. In addition to location analytics that determine each barge’s location at a given time, statistical analytics are applied to the data stream to uncover port assets operational insights. For example, a barge mooring space that is underused or a waterway that is often more congested can be detected and handled. These analytics also support new business models by predicting supply and demand for port assets.
  • For Barge Companies: SmartPort’s barge tracking and monitoring provides real-time awareness of barge/fleet locations, allowing barge companies to evaluate barge transport efficiency and improve operations. The insight into asset management and utilization uncovered by SmartPort also enables barge companies to predict mooring space costs, number of ships to serve and capacity of goods. The barge companies can either use insights provided by the port authority or enhance them with bespoke analytics for their needs.
  • For Shipping Companies: SmartPort automatically identifies abnormal behaviors and patterns by applying IoT analytics to data collected from multiple sources and sensors. This pattern analysis helps shipping companies evaluate ship loading and unloading times, turnaround times and barge company performance, helping to improve operational efficiency.
  • For Terminal Companies: SmartPort creates new information for terminal companies to enable evaluation of terminal and queue efficiency by visualizing the continuous stream of data from IoT sensors and subsystems. Additionally, the relevant insights uncovered by the application of IoT analytics to collected data allow terminal companies to predict mooring space costs and capacity of goods.


SmartPort is scalable, flexible and modular industry-specific solution built in consultation with AGT customers. Through SmartPort, port authorities can more effectively utilize assets and increase revenue, and barge operators can more effectively manage shipping and mooring space, demonstrating the value of IoT. IoT-specific analytics, data management and visualization enable critical asset management and improved efficiencies. Leveraging IoT to create a clearer, more complete picture and generate actionable insights based on data, AGT supports port authorities and shipping companies to help increase revenue, reduce costs, maximize asset management and operational efficiency, improve in-port safety and drive local economies.

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