The Port of Kolkata, known as the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP) has a tie-up with Antwerp Port in Belgium to initiate night navigation between Sagar and SMP port within six months. To implement this, a special software Quester is customized to fix a route on the Hooghly in advance that can be easily used by the pilots who navigate ships between Kolkata and the sea. The project is to get night navigation facilities between Budge Budge and Kolkata Dock System (KDS) in the next two months and the remaining route will be covered in six months.
In the three developments that will allow night navigation: one, to create lit-up markers on shore for pilots to get their bearings. Second, signals along the navigation channel will get lights and lastly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help suggest the best path, based on the tidal movements and the distance from shore. Pilots can access the complete info on their laptops while navigating the ships.
At present, a Kolkata-bound ship that arrives at the Sagar in the evening has to stop throughout the night till sunrise the next morning to proceed upriver. Similarly, a ship that has completed work at KDS in the late afternoon has to wait till the next morning to leave. This delay costs money. The project once completed will help save at least $10000 per ship and this will attract more traffic for import and export.