Port traffic in Great Yarmouth could be handled remotely and six jobs put at risk under a bid to transfer control to Liverpool.
A frontline team based in the town currently monitors and directs shipping movements 24/7 at both the river port and outer harbour, allocating berths and responding to emergencies including flood alerts.
Their role sees them overseeing the safety of an estimated 800 shipping movements a month.
However the work of Port Marine Services (PMS) looks set to shift towards a new command centre at Peel Port’s headquarters in Liverpool in the next few months.
Peel Ports is advertising five vacancies in Liverpool.
The move is part of a £2.7m investment in traffic control technology across all seven of its ports and is billed as a UK first.
The package includes automated vessel identification and tracking, solid-state radar and weather stations.
David Huck, deputy chief operating officer at Peel Ports, said the decision to centralise was taken after careful consideration.
He said: “The technology will allow us to provide a more efficient, more resilient and safer service…We are leading the way in using technology to transform how ports work.”
He said there would be some “small scale restructuring”, adding: “The step change in technology enables operations to be managed remotely and the decision to centralise the function was taken after careful consideration.”
Mr Huck added: This is a huge advance for our customers, our people and port operations generally. The technology will allow us to provide a more efficient, more resilient and safer service and will ensure that Peel Ports Group has a port control platform aligned to the Group’s future growth plans.”
At the same time port director Richard Goffin will become port director for both London Medway and Great Yarmouth from April 1.
The two ports already work closely together across a number of functions.
Yarmouth is the main port servicing the southern part of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas industry.
The port also handles vessels supporting the offshore wind power generation sector, and ships carrying general and bulk cargoes such as grain.
Source: Eastern Daily Press, 19 January 2018