It’s past time to stop thinking about port developments in the same manner we used to. Everuthing has changed, and port developments in 2023 will incorporate many new components due to recent new funding.
Ports have been greatly influenced by changing economic and environmental factors during the past few years. Port administrators have been compelled to concentrate substantially on initiatives that provide resilience, sustainability, and accessibility in port infrastructure due to new obstacles and financing requirements.
In addition to new international requirements for the introduction of alternative fuels in the fleet, ports throughout the world are currently dealing with a new revolution centered on the digitization of their processes, combining new infrastructures, administration, and operational procedures. These ports receive the name of Smart Ports.
Smart Ports are ports that employ cutting-edge technology to run their tasks more successfully. The digitalization of seaports produces a vast quantity of data that increases their productivity, efficiency, and sustainability. Industry 4.0 links and intercommunicates port management activities into a single integrated operations platform by using technologies like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), or blockchain, among others. So how do they succeed in achieving these goals? Through the utilization of clever software tools. And which are some of the Smart Ports that are changing the future of the maritime sector?
- Port of Los Angeles:
Port of Los Angeles and IBM made the decision to reach an agreement in 2020 to establish a cyber resilience center at their port. This solution will help to lessen risks of cyber security concerns with cargo and information exchange. This will provide a more secure and efficient flow of freight for the port.
The port’s Smart Port Initiative with GE involves developing a digital platform that will increase openness at the port. They anticipate that doing this will boost planning and supply chain effectiveness. To help California’s environmental goals, their port has pushed to have cleaner water. All vessel kinds can fit in their deep channel depth.
- Port of Barcelona:
This port is conscious of its impact on the neigcity around them and is worried about the quality of the air, the water, the pollution, and the traffic.
Also, they wish to improve their information technology so they can compete better in the realm of contemporary trade. They cherish the interaction between the port and the citizens of the city, therefore they wish to service their hinterlands.
Almost 15 years ago, they started the change to a Smart Port. They are working on a project for a container tracking app. In order to trace shipments, they intend to combine technology solutions and are committed to being open with shippers.
- Port of Rotterdam:
They have a Digital Twin. A Digital Twin of their port provides them with information on how the various pieces of equipment interact with one another. Moreover, it enables them to monitor all processes in real-time. To make sure their operations adhere to environmental water requirements, IoT sensors monitor water flow, turbidity, and pressure.
Furthermore, afacility called HavenLeerWerkPlaats has been built to help port employers, workers, and job seekers locate employment possibilities there, integrating the neighborhood with the port. And in an effort to electrify their ports, they are attempting to switch to green and renewable energy sources. They may receive autonomous ships because of their digitization.
Nonetheless, if there is a maritime company that stands out among the competition when it comes to the digitalization of their ports is Siport1:
The maritime port consultancy company Siport21, specialized in ship-port infrastructure interaction, with 24 years of history and more than 1,500 projects in 58 countries, has been for several years getting into different lines of business where it contributes its knowledge and added value, while combining new information processing techniques: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Twins, simulators, etc.
At present, it has joined the Smart Port movement, developing digital technology and useful applications for optimization. It is worth noting the creation of the SafePort utility (Smart Port Operations Control System), which combines sensorization, shared data platform, automatic and interactive simulation, operational risk analysis and assessment, predictive warning systems and intelligent decision support systems.
On the other hand, the location of an offshore wind turbine project must be studied meticulously due to its possible impact on maritime traffic. The methodology for the study of nautical risks, developed by Siport21, allows the initial location proposal to be evaluated in detail, considers all related factors, proposes future scenarios -with new infrastructures- and incorporates contrasted hypotheses on the evolution of maritime traffic, both in terms of typology and frequency of operations. This methodology, which has already been applied in several projects, again incorporates tools based on Big Data techniques, Data Analytics and DataViz (Artificial Intelligence algorithms to identify spatio-temporal relationships between the various traffics and physical conditions with advanced representation methods) that allow huge volumes of data to be analyzed efficiently.
The new methodology combines the mathematical traffic prediction model, Siflow21, with nautical risk assessment and, as a result, allows establishing the safety and service level of the offshore wind energy field area. This combination makes it possible to identify the main risk factors and define contingency measures to reduce the risks, ensuring that they remain within acceptable limits.
Finally, the environmental aspects are becoming increasingly more relevant: new fuels (LNG, H2, ammonia, methanol, …) or electricity supply, with their safety procedures, operation simulators, training tools, emission measurement systems and real-time information management. Within this area, the company has developed joint projects with Gasnam: Sibunker, a conceptual simulator for LNG bunkering operations; Ecobuq, a simulator for configuring ships according to their economic and environmental efficiency; and Newbunker, bunker procedures for H2 and ammonia.
Based on these three areas, which are added to its traditional activity of consultancy and training of seafarers, Siport21 wants to strengthen its position in the market and continue to offer a greater number of valuable services to its customers.
On a final note, several conferences related to smart ports will be held across the world later this year. Keynotes, panel discussions, and case studies from the top ports in the world will be included at SDP 2023. There will also be plenty of speaking and exhibiting opportunities for businesses wishing to raise their image in the sector.
- The Smart Digital Ports of the Future conference 2023 will be held on the 16th and 17th of May in Rotterdam, The Nederlands. It will focused on making ports and terminals smarter, more efficient, and more connected.
- The Port of Barcelona is hosting a new edition of “Smart Ports: Piers of the Future” and it will be held on November 7th, 8th and 9th 2023. In previous editions, its focus was on the following attributes: Partnerships, Oceans, Resilience, Technology and Start-ups. In this edition their focus will shift on developing technology that is both revolutionary, but at the same time enables the opportunity for a more sustainable future for the people and the environment.