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Shore power cabinets for the port of antwerp

Power distribution panels for tugboats

Slight of build, big in action. Tugs help large container ships and tankers to safely moor and depart. In the Port of Antwerp we assisted with the electrical facilities for the quay where the tugs themselves moor. Project manager Johan Meykens: “There they use our electrical cabinets to connect to the electricity supply network. They sign on with an app and are automatically sent the bill afterwards.”

Things are constantly on the move on the water at the Port of Antwerp. The same also applies for their infrastructure. The Port Authority is currently centralising its operational and maintenance departments. A number of new buildings and workshops on quay 602-612 are being used for the move. This is also the new home for the tugs.

For its electrical facilities the Port of Antwerp called in Techelec, a specialist in electrical solutions for the maritime sector. They in turn called upon us for a certain part of the larger assignment. “Our task was to install power distribution panels for moored tugs. These can be compared to charging posts for electric cars. But this with the difference that the tugs do not store electricity, but immediately consume it. They must make sure that their power generator can be switched off without losing the lighting on board for example.”

Each tapping point has a separate energy meter to record consumption.
Project manager Johan Meykens

“But our panels must be able to do more than just distribute. They also measure and register consumption per boat. After a captain moors he signs in with an app. He then identifies himself and clarifies which plug socket he will be using. Done with tapping off power. He then signs out with the same app and is sent a digital invoice.”

“Our panels record consumption at each tapping point to make all this possible. This is done with an energy meter connected at bus level to Techelec’s central control system. The system creates the invoice based on the measured data. We installed a total of twelve panels for the Port of Antwerp. Ten of them each had four smart 32A and 63A power sockets.”

A lot of intelligence, in a little space

“The challenge was to get all the intelligence in a relatively small cabinet. It all had to fit in a small as possible space. We also had incoming cables 185 square. No easy matter to connect these cables in such a compact cabinet. It was up to us to make things as easy as possible for the people from Techelec.”

“In theory it was actually an impossible job. So we went in search of other configurations. We gained space by choosing different components. And we did manage to get everything inside, while keeping as much room for the connections as possible.”

“Another extra challenge was the special design of cabinet housings. They took somewhat longer to arrive than standard material. Considering we knew the dimensions, we solved the problem by fitting everything on a mounting plate beforehand. When the cabinets did arrive we could finish the work off straight away. And it was worth the wait – the special stainless steel cabinets with LED lighting gave the finishing touch.”