We reported earlier about the virtual SPEED Smart Port Hackathon that was organized in July. Team ‘Big Berthas’ , one of the winners of the Hackathon, gives you some more information about their Berth Auctioning app.


The app was produced as an entry to the SPEED Smart Port Hackathon, which took place online over four days in July 2020. The hackathon presented 3 distinct challenges: air quality monitoring, a passenger information system and a berth auctioning app. (By clicking you arrive on the SPEED challenges platform)

The team was composed of Oli Woods, Shafagh Alaei, Sam Thomas and Mark McPherson – all students at Bournemouth University. It was an exciting project to be part of. We went into it individually but quickly formed a team due to a shared interest in the berth auctioning challenge.

How we worked as a team

We were lucky to have Shafagh in the team – her knowledge of the industry helped us navigate through murky waters (pardon the pun, I could not resist)!

Sam was the go-to guy for the look and feel of the site. He kept it simple, following that old adage of ‘simple is beautiful’.

Oli and Mark worked on the app itself. It did get frustrating at times, often feeling out of our depth (ahem…), but they both learned some new things while doing so!

The (just about) finished product

Due to the short time we had available, some of the functionality we would have liked to include was not possible. However, the resulting app serves as a great proof-of-concept, meeting the requirements provided by SPEED. Just to outline some of the key points:

  • The app presents a simple flow and structure for the use case
  • Extremely feasible to go to production in a matter of weeks, with everything hosted in the cloud
  • Simple user flow uses secure real-time data
  • By keeping it simple we limit points of failure
  • Highly integrable with other systems – uses industry-standard technologies and a custom API, all of which are supported by huge communities

You can access the prototype at https://ppa-berth-app.herokuapp.com/login
Please be aware that it may take some time to initially load – this is due to how it is hosted for free. This would not be the case in production. You can create an account with a fake email, it is not checked.

Team ‘Big Berthas’
Oliver Woods
Samuel Thomas
Shafagh Alaei
Mark McPherson (blog post author)