What is a Smart Port?

A Smart Port is a port that uses automation and innovative technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain to improve its performance.

Although the industry of ports and container shipping is often regarded as conservative and resistant to change, there are new technologies, systems and solutions emerging that will alter this perception in the coming years, leading the entire sector to a brighter, more connected future.

The need to evolve and become “smart” is even more paramount today with the changing demands of global trade: ships are getting biggergoods are moving faster; and geopolitical issues are creating new challenges for ports all around the world.

In Edition 106 of the PTI Journal we examined some of the the most important digital trends and developments across the industry.

The industry has already embraced many emerging technologies such as Digital Twinscargo flow optimisation and visualisation – giving customers end-to-end transparency of their cargo’s journey through the supply – and the emergence of 5G’s low latency and faster connectivity to improve port operations.

Digitalisation

The digitalisation of industrial processes is turning the way we produce goods and services upside-down as we look for higher efficiencies and better management of resources. This transformation is the so called Industry 4.0, and the Internet of Things (IoT) can be considered its cornerstone due to the clear need to capture information from all industrial assets.

The maritime sector is not an exception in this transformation and the change is starting to accelerate.

The Port of Esbjerg, for example, is leveraging a Digital Twin data visualisation platform to identify, monitor, and analyse the emissions outputs of not just its own carbon consumption, but eventually all actors using the port’s facility. The digitalisation and measuring of the port’s assets has allowed the port to make significant strides in reducing its carbon output within the port community.

But digitalisation is still a largely untapped resource in ports: reports found in February 2021 that of the 4,900 ports around the world, a staggering 80% continue to rely on legacy and paper-based processes to manage maritime services.

Courtesy: Port Technology

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