Italian port installs Milestone software

Aug. 12, 2008
Software contains license plate recognition to help manage traffic at busy port

The Italian port of San Giorgio di Nogaro has installed IP video surveillance management software from Milestone Systems with License Plate Recognition to help manage busy shipping and transit traffic, security of goods, and people safety. The system is scalable for expansions in the three-port area, with an open platform for best-of-breed hardware support with flexible central and remote operations.

The port of San Giorgio di Nogaro situated near the city of Udine, Italy, is a large river port accessible from the Adriatic Sea, and one of three active ports in the region, together with Trieste and Monfalcone. The port area houses a rail junction, covered warehouses and open air storage areas, handling approximately 1.6 million tons of goods yearly.

In 2007 the Consortium for Industrial Development of the area initiated a project to implement the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), which obligates port areas to adopt standard security similar to those of airports. From the beginning, it was clear that the final objective, with successive extensions of the installation, was to guarantee the complete monitoring of people and goods in transit in all the areas of the port, and to achieve a unified management of the three ports of the region.

Proof of a good security investment

"We have a useful instrument for regulating access and gathering statistics of all traffic flow, monitoring and preventing irregular actions. But the usefulness of the installation goes beyond just security; it fosters better logistics in the port. Visitors and professionals have changed their attitude towards safety procedures with the awareness of the video surveillance system that ensures monitoring 24/7 of the whole port area. For example, many adopt correct work behavior: they now always wear helmets and most of the moving vehicles stay within the established speed limits," says Engineer Paolo Crescenzi, responsible for the logistics area of the Consortium.

Flexibility imperative for now and the future

After a thorough investigation of the solutions in the market, the Consortium decided on Esa Service as the installing partner, and to use the Milestone XProtect Enterprise software platform for its ability to meet the needs of the port. Milestone delivers compatibility with the broadest choice of cameras, the scalability to manage the foreseen need for multiple command centers (at the Port of Nogaro, five have been installed already), the ability to support communication structures with mixed fiber optics systems, wireless and high speed telephone lines, plus integration with more advanced technologies like license plate recognition and video analytics.

The system was designed and tailored to the needs of the port by Maurizio Barbo, Project Director at Esa Service. The installation uses advanced technologies such as fixed 360 degree, megapixel digital cameras and Pan/Tilt/Zoom speed dome cameras with image stabilizers, installed along the quay and at points with the highest risk.

He states: "To protect the dock, I wanted a mixed solution to take advantage of the zooming and detailing functionalities of Speed Domes without having to give up the ability to follow events with 360 degree cameras with fixed optics. The cargo handling on the wharf requires trucks, cranes or forklifts for loading and unloading the ships, where the risk of incidents ranges from simple load overthrow to real accidents. In these cases, the authorities ask for movies that allow them to reconstruct the events in every detail - a requirement that can only be met by cameras that give visibility of the left, right, up and down, all at the same time, both live and played back in the software."

Integrated License Plate Recognition and Interconnected Command Centers To speed up operations at the customs block, without sacrificing the high levels of security, license plate recognition has been set up for all toll lanes, automatically reading the license plates of all vehicles entering or leaving. The access by authorized personnel is controlled with transponder badges combined with personal identification codes.

It is in the connection of field cameras with the multiple command centers that the Milestone system has really proven its ability to fulfill the requirements of the port protection. To simplify the design and to contain the costs of implementation, dedicated fiber optic lines or wireless lines were used. Between Margreth Port and Porto Vecchio, both systems are used to ensure double the safety.

After the Port closes at night, Nogaro’s five command center video streams continue to be registered in the central system, but the signal is sent remotely to the Master of the Port of Monfalcone and to the Maritime Directorate of Trieste. Moreover, in the absence of system operators at Nogaro, the command centers are protected with any intrusion attempt reported using a high speed connection.

Esa Service has used the Milestone software to create a dedicated security portal that provides real-time remote assistance service on customer request. Most of the operations are carried out automatically. The Milestone software allows a wide margin of self-management: local users connect via the web to access the many features available online in full autonomy. In other cases, they may contact a systems operator who either intervenes remotely or activates the regional support team. The advantages here are many in terms of cost reductions, simplicity and speed of operations.