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Saab technology helps Port Hedland achieve export records

Port Hedland accounts for nearly two thirds of Western Australia’s iron ore exports and is the largest bulk export port in the world by tonnage, exporting more than 470 million tonnes of iron ore and handling close to 3,000 distinct cargo arrivals between July 2014 and June 2015. The port achieves all this through a single, draft sensitive, vessel traffic channel that must be carefully navigated by very large bulk carriers during precise tidal window slots. The port utilizes several state of the art technologies to achieve its continuous tonnage export records. Table below shows the monthly cargo handling in Port Hedland during the mentioned period.  



Iron Ore

(million Tonnes)

Total Cargo

(million Tonnes)

Distinct vessel



Port Hedland handled more than 490 million tonnes of cargo between July 2014 and June 2015. Statistics retrieved from Pilbara Ports Authority database

Maritime Traffic Management

Two companies in Saab’s Maritime Traffic Management product area are key technology providers to the port. Saab Technologies Ltd., of Vancouver, Canada, has implemented its KleinPort Management Information System and QPS of Zeist, the Netherlands, provides navigation and common information distribution software for the Portable Pilot Units (PPU).

KleinPort is a sophisticated database application that port personnel use to schedule vessels and the associated resources and ensure the safe and efficient operation of the port. The QPS navigation solution (QPS Qastor and QPS Qastor Connect Server) enables the Port Hedland Pilots equipped with Navicom PPU’s to safely navigate the channel and to position the world’s largest bulk carriers at their loading berths.

Another technology, which interfaces with KleinPort is the Dynamic Under Keel Clearance (DUKC) application provided by OMC of Melbourne, Australia. The DUKC takes the planned sailing schedule per tide, and determines the precise sailing order and times for each ship. This information is then passed back to KleinPort to factor into the departure planning. 

Port Hedland harbour master explains the benefits of the Qastor-Duck integration:

“From a technical perspective, Qastor-DUKC (Dynamic Under Keel Clearance) Integration enables the platform for the Portable Pilot Units (PPU - Toughbook’s) that Port Hedland Marine Pilots use when they board vessels and sail within the channel. The platform provides live relay information over 3G from the DUKC System, with critical data such as DUKC information Overlay and Environmental feeds. The operational benefits include risk management and having critical data available when responding to an incident and the required functionality.”

Figure 1. Shown in Qastor, the Port Hedland channel that requires precise planning and management

QPS b.v.

QPS makes industry leading software for collection, post processing and visualisation of maritime spatial data. Our product QPS Qastor is an Electronic Chart Software (ECS) that enables navigation, piloting and precise docking, as well as several other application such as Oil & Gas FPSO/SPM mooring, patrol vessel and tugboat operations. Our QPS Connect Server product gathers information (data files like ENCs, or live data like Tide/Wind/Visibility) from many different sources and to distribute all the information from that central repository to multiple users, including pilots using the Qastor. Furthermore, our products QPS QINSy, QPS Qimera and QPS Fledermaus seamlessly partner ArcGIS for Maritime, to solve problems and gain efficiencies for maritime related survey business. Established in 1986, today QPS has offices in Zeist (The Netherlands), Banbury (UK), Fredericton (Canada) and Portsmouth (USA) and a global network of business partners.


Saab Technologies Ltd.

Saab Technologies Ltd. (formerly Klein Systems Group Ltd.) is an international software and services company specializing in enterprise software solutions for maritime ports and pilotages. The company is located in Vancouver, Canada and is part of the Maritime Traffic Management product area of Saab AB. Saab Technologies Ltd., has over 30 years of experience delivering software solutions for maritime ports, vessel traffic and coastal surveillance organizations, pilotage authorities, tug operators and maritime community systems. Saab Technologies makes a positive difference in the business of maritime operations by providing leading software and service solutions through customer commitment and unparalleled business understanding. Our mission is to make ports more efficient.



Saab Technology helps Port Hedland achieve export records
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