A NEW vessel traffic service system is set to bring about a new era of safety and efficiency at Melbourne and Geelong, Victorian Ports Corporation chief executive Rachel Johnson says.

Installation is said to be “well underway”, the new system featuring software and hardware upgrades to the Victorian Ports Corporation Port Operations Control Centre as well as sensors and data collection sites around Port Philip Bay.

It is expected to produce higher quality data, allow better control of information and, by integrating with other existing systems, bring overall improvements in port operations under the supervision of the Port of Melbourne harbour master.

“The new VTS system will enhance safety and efficiency and that is good news for the whole port logistics and freight network,” Ms Johnson said.

VTS officers are expected to benefit directly from ergonomic upgrades at the Port Operations Control Centre including better user interfaces, workstation layouts, upgraded sensors and new information displays.

Construction of the replacement system began in June and, as an essential service, has continued throughout Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdowns.

Another view of new VTS facilities at Melbourne. Credit: Victorian Ports Corporation

All work sites operate under strict health protocols in line with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.

Training for VTS officers on the new system is underway in parallel with current port operations.

Comprehensive testing and a detailed, phased rollout is set to see elements of the system gradually brought online from September 2020 to ensure continuity of VTS services. Project completion is scheduled for early in the New Year.