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작성자 최고관리자 댓글 0건 조회 208회 작성일 20-07-16 17:46


The pace of change and number of disruptions continue to increase. There is of course COVID-19 and the path to economic recovery that we need to think about; however, we also need to take into consideration the energy transition, innovation, digitisation, shifting trade patterns and other changes. Where do you start when preparing your port for the future in a disrupted environment?

Data management is key

Traditionally, ports have been crucial nodes in the world’s international supply chains. As those supply chains have become increasingly fast, flexible and responsive, the role of ports has been transformed. Geographical location is no longer the only factor that counts. The speed, efficiency and reliability of transport flows, as well as the ease with which they are handled, are just as important. How quickly can goods be forwarded after a vessel docks at the port?

The port of today is a hub that handles not just cargo but also data. Information comes in from a range of sources: from shippers and shipping companies, but also from port authorities, terminals, customs and supervisory authorities.
A port’s appeal as a hub depends on how good we are at linking these different sources. The effective coordination of data flows improves efficiency, transparency, predictability and lead times. The port of the future will be a vital digital connection in multiple chains–many of which have already become predominantly digital themselves.


The port of the future will also be an agile port. Freight flows are changing at breathtaking speed. Markets are shifting as the middle classes in regions across the planet – not just in China and India–expand rapidly. Some ports are becoming more important, while others are seeing changes to their existing revenue models. The increased focus on climate change will drive a transition in the storage and handling of fossil feedstocks and fuels as we turn to alternative products.
Changes in the flows of goods are a potential threat: a port cannot simply move to a different location. But new trends and developments also create new opportunities: to make the most of the energy transition or to establish a position in the sustainable and digital supply chains of the future. Capitalising on these opportunities requires, first and foremost, agility. And the ability to identify opportunities and convert them into new revenue models.

Smart ports

The ports of the future will be smart ports. They will be able to respond effectively to the demands of a changing world. They will be entirely digital and climate-neutral. For example, they will be powered by offshore wind, and work with carbonneutral vessels, sustainable industry and a circular economy.
They will be digital ports where real-time data make operations predictable and safe. There will be no waiting times for ships. Ship visits will be as fast and efficient as pit stops. There will be greater transparency, predictability, efficient operations and logistical chains. By making the most of artificial intelligence, block chain and the Internet of Things, these ports will cut emissions, and save time and money. For your port, this future may be just around the corner and you may be wondering what comes next. But there are also ports where this transition has not yet begun, where this future may seem distant – or even unattainable. But they will also need to prepare for the future, whatever it may hold.


The port of the future doesn’t wait for opportunities, it goes looking for them. It engages with everyone who uses the port actively–terminals, industry, shippers, to name just a few–and also maintains close contacts with all outside stakeholders, such as government authorities, local residents and other ports. Identifying opportunities and transforming them into revenue models requires an enterprising organisation.
A self-learning and self-critical organisation with pro-active, solution-oriented staff members who are open to new trends and developments and who respond to the changing wishes and requirements of clients and other stakeholders. An organisation that can play an active role in international networks.
A forward-looking organisation first needs a clear vision and strategy. What will be the port’s role in the future? What will be required to fulfil this role? The next step is to develop and implement that new role in partnership with clients and stakeholders. That means major changes at every level of the organisation but it also means that ports will have to redefine their relationships with stakeholders. New partnerships will have to be forged.


Physical assets will always be at the heart of any future revenue model.
Which is why the optimal management and operation of those assets is so important. In turn, that depends on using data effectively to prevent problems, allow ports to make maintenance more effective and efficient, and extend the lifespan of their assets. The resulting improvements in port facilities and the cost savings release funds for investment in new developments. There is still a lot of analogue information out there, in drawings, archives and obsolete systems.
Digital access to that information is important for analysis. And the port of the future also needs to collect data actively, primarily real-time data about facilities like terminals and quay walls, water levels and currents, and ships’ GPS coordinates. Data collection of this kind may involve using autonomous vessels drones with cameras and sensors for monitoring and inspection.
Port assets are also getting smarter, communicating via the Internet of Things, and helping to operate and maintain the port more effectively and efficiently. Real-time data can be used, for example, to decide whether a vessel can berth, and to optimise throughput and handling. And to plan maintenance work on quay walls better. Or to make dredging more efficient. Ideally, the port of the future will use the data to build a digital twin that can be used to model port response to changing conditions.


The port of the future needs swift, efficient, robust and sustainable connections with the hinterland and other sea ports.
It has multiple transport options at any given time to move goods quickly to where they are needed, sustainably where possible. The port needs smart systems so that users can predict, plan and coordinate all transport movements. And smart traffic control systems to prevent congestion and improve traffic flows. We already have autonomous container terminals. But that is also the future for trucks and cargo vessels.
We expect to see autonomous ships that use real-time data supplied by the port to find their own way to the right berth. Or trucks that drive in convoys and select specific routes in a completely autonomous process while remaining in constant contact with terminals, gateways and traffic lights. We also expect to see entirely new modes of transport such as drones for the moving of both goods and people. Or even a hyperloop for containers…
Real-time communication between ships, cranes, trains, trucks, containers, pilot vessels, traffic lights and weather stations will lead to an exponential increase in the number of decisions required. A single person simply cannot oversee all the consequences.
So artificial intelligence will be indispensable in terms of underpinning, and possibly automating, these decisions. The port of the future will also be, to some extent, an autonomous port.



A healthy port depends on a healthy environment and the public wellbeing and on the engagement with its stakeholders. We’ve already said this here: a good dialogue with stakeholders is essential. And even stakeholders without a direct say can tell us a lot about how the port is performing. Other indicators, such as healthy biodiversity, tell us a lot about water quality in the port, and how vessels and terminals are operating. A healthy and attractive environment is important for everyone in and around the port. It makes it possible to generate economic and social value, and to safeguard sustainable port growth in the long term.


In the path to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis there will be opportunities to promote and stimulate clean technologies. It could speed up the energy transition not only at a local level but also in different countries and regions. This could give an extra boost to the energy transition which is taking place around the globe. The response to climate change is expected to gradually push down demand for fossil fuels, with major consequences for ports that are now hubs in the fossil-based economy. At the same time, there is growing pressure on ports and their users to reduce their carbon emissions and move toward climate-neutral operations in the longer term. Ports of the future will switch to clean sources of energy like wind, solar and water, and also make the transition to bio-based raw materials. More and more modes of transport are being electrified. We are already seeing experiments with electrically powered vessels for transport over short distances. It is still not clear where initiatives like this will take us but we do know one thing: new solutions will be needed to reduce our carbon emissions. Fuels like LNG, bio-LNG or hydrogen, for example. Wind and solar power have the potential not only to supply the port itself with clean electricity but also to produce green hydrogen.
Many vessels, trucks and industries are expected to switch to green hydrogen in the longer run so they can operate on a completely climate-neutral basis. Climate change is opening up other opportunities.
The phasing out of fossil-based goods flows will be accompanied by increasing demand for new transport solutions, as in the case of biofuels, biochemicals and green hydrogen. All the ports of the future will be hubs in a new, circular economy that will not waste any residual waste flows.


COVID-19 has shown the dependance on technology and digital solutions in order to keep industries operational. This will undoubtedly mean that digital transition, which was already well on its way, will gain even greater momentum. Digital technologies have the potential to make quantum leaps in efficiency. At present, some 200 documents are currently required for every cargo sent by sea. No fewer than 28 organisations–from terminals and freight forwarders to transport companies and customs authorities–have to share data with each other to get goods to their destinations. Currently, some 30 percent of goods fail to arrive on schedule. And even when they do, shippers will often not know their precise location, or when they will be released. The port of the future will be a digital port where cargoes are no longer delayed by inefficient exchanges of important data.
Digital technologies allow users to share relevant data in real time with everyone involved–in a process that is as safe as it is reliable–including partners further along the chain with whom we have almost no contact at present. The digital transition will make it possible to predict arrival times, reduce the length of port stays and minimise waiting times. Just-intime shipping will make it possible to cut the 21.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions released annually by the shipping industry by as much as 35 percent. The digital transition doesn’t stop at the boundaries of the port area. We can create new opportunities by establishing connections to other blockchain initiatives or online platforms that match supply and demand in the transport sector. Or we can set up new, digital connections with other ports–both in this country and around the world – that will make it even easier to exchange relevant information.


The key factor in all these developments is innovation. It is crucial for adapting assets and infrastructure in the future, for the energy transition and for the digital transition. And we need social innovation to transform the entire port area, including the surrounding industrial cluster, into an open ecosystem that has the capability to embrace change and capitalise on new opportunities.
The port authority needs to take the lead in this process. But how? By entering into intensive partnerships with training and research institutes. By stimulating enterprise, providing room for start-ups and scale-ups, and supporting them with venture capital. By playing an active role in bringing together industrial, logistics and maritime companies with these start-ups and scale-ups–and in that way improving the chances of success for promising innovations. Innovation is about more than research & development alone. It is also needed in regulations, financing, marketing, implementation and acceptance. The port authority plays a crucial role in effectively bringing together all the parties involved. That is the only way to establish the right conditions for the successful innovation eco-system that will certainly be needed to keep up with rapid technological developments.


■Contact: www.portofrotterdam.com/international



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