ChannelPorts opts for Icom’s PoC system
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

ChannelPorts, a private customs clearance company that processes more than 3,000 vehicles and consignments a month, is using an Icom LTE/PTT over Cellular (PoC) system supplied by Chatterbox Ltd to coordinate parking and customs clearance.

ChannelPorts based in Folkestone Services, Hythe on Junction 11 of the M20 motorway. It provides a customs clearance service for trucks through the Port of Dover and via the Channel Tunnel.

ChannelPorts’ Chris Childs said, “We need radio comms here as our business/parking is spread over a one square mile area. We have limited space for parking so we need good communication as we have to turn many drivers away, maybe 150-200 vehicles a night because we are always full. We must have staff positioned at various points around the site to tell drivers that we either have spaces or not.

“We have always used radio communications. Our previous digital radio system was from another manufacturer and although the quality was good outside because of the type of buildings we have in here and the distance we are covering, it would drop out quite often.

‘We went for the Icom LTE system because of the simplicity of the setup. There were no additional aerials, repeaters to put up. We have a mobile phone mast right outside and once we tested it, it was almost a no brainer.

“The Icom LTE radios have performed well. The quality of the audio is very good. Once you get over the initial difference that you must wait for a beep to talk, it becomes second nature.”

He added that: ‘Two LTE radios have been allocated for the management team so we can communicate directly with each other as well as the whole team. We have an outside team that have been allocated radios. We also have a radio allocated in our office so if there is a problem outside someone can go down and deal with it. There is also a base station radio that is housed in a Bluetooth charger.”

Childs said that ChannelPorts opted for PoC devices over mobile phones because the former are more rugged and less likely to be taken home by employees and also “work out much cheaper than a mobile phone”. He also cited their ability to provide one-to-many communications, while also having a break-in feature that allow managers to interrupt an on-going conversation rather than waiting for a channel to be free. The devices have lone worker and man down alarm functions, which are “especially useful for the outside staff working on their own. The PoC radios are also used when team members travel to Dover, roughly 7-8 miles way to get drivers’ documents stamped – “we may only be doing this a couple of times a week,” Childs concludes.

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