Inmarsat has equipped four Paraná River push boats operated by Impala Paraguay with Fleet Xpress connectivity, in what the mobile satellite communications company is calling a breakthrough for maritime broadband inland along one of South America's longest waterways.
The prime mover vessels are used by Impala Paraguay to steer its fleet of 30 double-hulled barges along the waterway system to move gas oil, jet fuel, gasoline and naphtha products from Argentina onward to Paraguay and Bolivia, exporting soya bean oil in the other direction. Long sections of the transit take place outside the reach of 4G or GSM cellular networks.
To date, continuous push boat connectivity has been sustained using Inmarsat's FleetBroadband service, which the company says guarantees connectivity for the modern navigation systems and night operation equipment, as well as the load sensors and GPS position monitoring installed on barges. On average, each push boat consumes around 500GB of data per month for vessel management and crew connectivity.
However, the unlimited bandwidth available from Fleet Xpress has proved necessary to support IP (internet protocol) camera surveillance to ensure the safety of crew and the cargo transported by Impala. As part of a three-year Fleet Xpress contract, each push boat is installed with 20 IP cameras connected via onboard antennas, enabling continuous monitoring from Impala Paraguay offices.
"We are invested in providing the best service possible to our clients and ensuring that we have state-of-the-art technology supporting every aspect of our operations," said a spokesperson from Impala Paraguay. "We believe using IP surveillance in our pushers sends a clear message to our clients that we will take all measures necessary to ensure that our operations are done in an efficient, reliable, and responsible manner."
Following installation works undertaken in Asunción, Paraguay, Inmarsat's Sales Director for Offshore and Fishing, Chuck Moseley said, "The choice of Fleet Xpress represented an inland breakthrough for the hybrid combination of high-speed Ka-band plus continuous back-up over FleetBroadband's L-band.
"Fleet Xpress is already powering the maritime data revolution, but recent months have also seen ship owners accelerate uptake of video-based applications to enhance collaborative working, security, telemedicine and crew connectivity," Moseley continued. "The Paraná River is an artery for economic development, carrying around 80% of Paraguay's trade. This order demonstrates that guaranteed global bandwidth via Fleet Xpress brings comparable gains inland to those already being achieved at sea. Committed data rates backed-up by service level agreements also guarantee that Fleet Xpress customers always gets what they pay for."