Vehicle boarding management in harbours

Mobility optimization for the ports of Algeciras and Tarifa in southern Spain

The objective of the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA) was to enhance operations effectiveness in both the Port of Algeciras, one of the largest ports in Europe and the world in three categories – cargo, container, and transhipment – and the neighbor port of Tarifa, the closest European port to North Africa. Thanks to Sensefields intelligent mobility technology, the objective has been successfully achieved and thus, further port authorities are now adopting APBA´s approach.



The strategic location on the Strait of Gibraltar together with the excellent natural conditions of its bay are some of the key factors that make the Port of Algeciras the leading port in the Mediterranean and one of the top five ports in the European Union in terms of total cargo throughput. The Bay of Algeciras is also home to the largest industrial complex in Andalusia and the second-largest complex in Spain.


The traffic control management project run by the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA) was to control the vehicle flow on the docks of both Algeciras and Tarifa ports in order to optimize the embarkation and disembarkation times on Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships – vessels designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels. Monitoring the vehicles entering and exiting those vessels would allow the operations enhancement of the entrance and exit processes.


Into account had to be taken the fact that the accesses to the port docks that required traffic controlling have different infrastructure characteristics and thus, the mobility solutions had to be adapted to each one of the different parameters. Both ports were in need of autonomous standalone solutions capable of being installed in existing infrastructure and being powered through solar panels. In addition, the solution should be flexible enough to easily adapt to different embarkation/disembarkation areas, since vessels do not always tie up to load and unload at the exact same point of the dock.


Carefully analysing those parameters, Sensefields solution was considered as ideal by the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA) thanks to the versatility offered by Sensefields technology, the data accuracy rate -higher than 99.5% – and the fast, simple and low cost installation.


Sensefields wireless magnetic sensors were easily and quickly installed transmitting real-time traffic flow information to Sensefields Data Processing Station – DPS offering numerous installation and operation benefits:

  • Installation of autonomous equipment powered by solar panels and data transmission by 3G
  • Full integration with APBA management platforms
  • Few sensors needed per boarding point due to the sensitivity adjustment capacity of the sensors facilitating the detection of vehicles in poorly defined areas
  • Control of the accesses of the docks of the two ports, in order to identify the activity in the loading/unloading phases and analyze operation effectiveness
  • Obtaining data on occupancy levels and directional flows
  • Appropriate mobility decision making in order to optimize the activities related to the general traffic of vehicles around the docks

Today the vehicle traffic on the 7th busiest container port in  Europe and 42nd in the world with a trade volume of over 2.81 Mio. TEUs is being successfully managed by Sensefields intelligent systems. Thanks to the versatilite use of Sensefields technology, the minimum application requirements and the diverse range of the connectivity methods, Sensefields equipment can be relocated, if necessary, offering flexibility of use when planning the installation.


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