Handling over 5 million metric tons of cargo through 20 different ports and terminals off Canada’s west coast, Western Stevedoring is British Columbia’s largest and most diversified stevedoring operation. With this volume of ship traffic congestion, the operations team at WS knew they required a mobile radio communications solution that was up for the task.

The Challenge

Western Stevedoring had been facing several unique challenges when it came to obtaining a reliable solution for their mobile communications needs.

First, its main facility consists of 80 Acres of dock space with numerous steel warehouses that tend to bounce radio signals causing poor communication on site. Second, massive steel separations and cargo also present a constant concern because of their signal-blocking properties.

That situation is exacerbated because the cargo and steel separations do not remain in fixed locations – and because they are constantly being moved around, figuring out how to setup radio coverage has been even more daunting. Factor in the daily influx of heavy ship traffic docking in and out of the ports and you have a recipe for extremely challenging conditions that severely impede clear, reliable radio communications.

Even more pressing, given the often-dangerous nature of stevedoring operations, there were growing concerns over the safety and security of staff using increasingly less reliable communications systems and equipment.

Having gone through several iterations of radio communication updates over the years, with only limited success, the longshoreman company was ready for a long-term solution, and this was no easy task as the operations department wanted everything from multi-channel digital to emergency override functions.

The Solution

Western Stevedoring retained the services of Metro Mobile of Langley, B.C. to address their issues. The team at Metro Mobile conducted a full discovery and analysis of the current system and its’ inherent challenges and suggested an upgrade from an analog to digital platform. Sixty (60) units of Hytera PD702/782 portables and 20 MD782 Digital Mobile Radios (DMR) coupled with a Hytera Repeater were commissioned to overcome the coverage problems that hampered communications along the docks.

The feature-rich PD7 Series was selected primarily because of Hytera’s patented pseudo-trunking maximization of channel usage. Key features such as vibration, a dedicated emergency button, and the large color display made this an ideal solution for Western Stevedoring’s mission-critical communications.

Their current analog channel converted to mixed mode allowing for a smooth transition from analog to digital communications. With the advanced features of digital radio - clear audio, more channel capacity, and the ability to extend coverage throughout their areas of operation via repeater, the new self-contained system enables operators to depend on their own system without relying on external means of communication in order to get their message received.

The Results

Since the rollout of the new Hytera digital solution within their dock operations, the crew have never looked back.

“We are particularly fond of the Hytera PD7 Series radios. They’re easy to use, have a long-battery life and most importantly, clear and powerful communications. They’ve proven to be very robust and seem to be able to survive in a tough environment. We are now communicating on digital frequencies with great success.”

Having quality product is only part of the equation. The operations team at WS have been quick to share praise for the client support they receive from both Metro Media and Hytera whenever system updates or repairs are needed.

“We have been really impressed by both Metro and Hytera for how responsive and supportive they have been throughout the implementation process and post-implementation operation.”

With far less background noise, clear channels to work on and far less incidents of interference, the crew at Western Stevedoring can finally focus on what they do best: safely handling much of the cargo imported and exported through B.C. ports.

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29 August 2017

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