Verizon Business secured a deal to build a private 5G network at one of the Virginia Port Authority’s container terminals to test the use of autonomous vehicles and potentially replace Wi-Fi at the 275-acre site.

Verizon Business picked Ericsson to provide the radios and packet core for the Virginia International Terminals (VIT) network, a privately-held operating company that owned by the Virginia Port Authority which is a state agency.

VIT will use the network to test autonomous road trucks for transporting shipping containers.

Rich Ceci, SVP of technology and projects at VIT, stated the use of autonomous trucks could help address a shortfall of drivers.

Verizon Business stated the non-standalone 5G private network could be scaled to replace Wi-Fi at the Virginia International Gateway facility.

The private network combines ultra-wideband small cells with an LTE packet core and relevant radios, and compatible with a range of 4G and 5G devices.

Verizon Business CEO Sowmyanarayan Sampath, stated seaports “provide some of the best possible examples of the power of private 5G, with uses spanning autonomous vehicles, connected heavy equipment and secure, real-time tracking and logistics”.

The deal was Verizon Business’ second with a major international port following a deal with Associated British Ports in 2021 which involved replacing 200 Wi-Fi access points at the Port of Southampton.