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Germany Calls for Improved Marine Com

Ralf Nagel. Photo: German Shipowners’ Association

Laxman Pai

Extension of broadband communication of key importance to digital change in maritime shipping, said shipowners and pilots in Germany's coastline.

Against the backdrop of the extension of mobile communications networks planned in Germany, the German Shipowners' Association (Verband Deutscher Reeder - VDR) and the German Federal Chamber of Pilots (Bundeslotsenkammer - BLK) issued a joint communiqué calling for urgent improvement of mobile network coverage in German coastal waters.

Maritime broadband communication in the North Sea and Baltic Sea was the topic of a symposium jointly held by the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany (Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland e. V. - MCN) with the VDR and the BLK last week.

Ralf Nagel, Chief Executive Officer of the German Shipowners' Association said: "At present, Germany is quite justified in discussing 5G standards in order to be fit and prepared for digital change. In addition, this inseparably extends to include decent broadband communication at sea. We certainly have pent-up demand in this regard. A digital infrastructure is a prerequisite for this, however, in order to make Germany future-proof as a port and maritime shipping location in German coastal waters. We will need to become more competitive in this area, too."

Erik Dalege, Chairman of the BLK said: "Hundreds of ships pass through the German Bight alone, every single day. In particular, there is an urgent need - for safety reasons on the highly frequented nautical "motorways" off the German coast - to ensure that in our role as pilots, we receive the mobile network coverage necessary to make use of state-of-the-art software."

Dominik Eisenbeis, Chairman of the MCN said: "A broadband connection is absolutely indispensable in any economic environment. It is of fundamental importance for digital innovation and, therefore, also for maintaining and improving the competitiveness of the businesses operating them. These foundations are sadly lacking in large parts at sea, however. In its role as the innovation driver of the maritime sector, the MCN therefore supports the political demands of the VDR and the BLK with huge emphasis."

The broadband infrastructure necessary for maritime digitization in German coastal waters still is heavily underdeveloped at present. For instance, mobile phone reception in the 200-mile area of what is termed the exclusive economic zone is largely intermittent or even completely non-existent.

Sep 23, 2019


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