Maritime traffic management, and why it matters

When we think about traffic management, the first things that probably spring to mind are road and air travel. However, a large part of traffic management also takes place at sea, helping to manage both cargo and passenger movement.

In this article, we discuss what maritime traffic is, some of the systems used in maritime traffic management and why getting maritime traffic management right is important.

What is maritime traffic management?

Maritime traffic management refers to the process of controlling the paths and arrival times of ships at sea. Controlling maritime traffic is commonly done from land, on docks and harbours. One important example of this is the Ras Laffan dock in Qatar, just 40 miles up the coast from Hamad International Airport.

Why is maritime traffic management important?

Maritime traffic management is important for a number of reasons, including:

Preventing collisions

Keeping passengers safe is at the heart of maritime traffic management. When boats keep a good distance away from one another, there’s no risk of the boats’ wakes affecting each other and causing unsteady rides. Good maritime management also means that there is no chance of boats colliding with one another.

Efficient trade

One of the main purposes of maritime travel is shipping. Maritime management means that ships arrive at their destination when expected, unload their goods and move on in a timely manner. This significantly reduces the risk of boats having to wait for others. Companies move their goods around the world more efficiently and without delay, allowing them to make the most of their business opportunities.

Maritime traffic management involves tracking ships along their journeys. In the event that a ship has issues, such as running aground or slowly sinking, tracking the ship can help to save lives. Maritime traffic management means that ships can communicate whenever they have any issues and receive help immediately, keeping everyone on board safe and preventing disasters at sea.

Maritime traffic management systems

Some of the systems with an important role in maritime traffic management include:

• GPS: Ships use GPS tracking to allow docks and harbours to keep track of their locations and movements.

• Automated Weather Observing Systems (AWOS): Maritime traffic management uses weather observation, forecasting and tracking systems to limit the risk of abject weather affecting ships.

• UHF/VHF Radio Communication: Maritime traffic management requires consistent communication between docks and ships. UHF and VHF radio provides clear audio communication over long distances.

• Visual Guidance Docking System (VDGS): VDGS is a useful system when docking a ship. This is a series of markings and landmarks that guide a ship into the dock, preventing damage to both the ship and infrastructure.

If you have an interest in improving your maritime traffic management systems, get in touch with Bayanat Engineering today to find out more about the options available.