In the preparation of the Smart Port Ecosystem manifesto, which determines the critical aspects that a Smart Port Ecosystem should embrace, we talked to representatives of Ports of Rotterdam, Hamburg, Le Havre, Antwerp and London. It is very interesting to see that, by taking a look at the most developed ports of North-West Europe, similar problems have different approaches to solutions. 

The most critical issues are…

Among others, the most addressed issues are linked to sustainability, different levels of technological readiness of port actors, resistance to globalisation and coordination/governance. Sustainability in its pure sense covers the provision of economic efficient solutions topic, while respecting environmental and societal conditions. An example of this is the implementation of traffic management solutions around ports that incorporate both the port and private mobility needs, and keeping an eye on the resulted emissions. With regard to the technological readiness of port actors, barriers to entry need to be lowered and even dropped. Smart Port Ecosystems need all actors (from family business to global corporations) to make use of the same technological developments.

Communication is key

The building of Smart Port Ecosystems can be associated with opening a new highway to globalisation and thus face societal opposition. Setting up a two-way communication platform where citizens, representatives of the port users and universities can exchange ideas and hear each other’s vision with regard to smart port developments can help. The main goals of this platform are twofold: it clarifies incipient negative ideas with regard to growing perspectives and demonstrates what is the impact of Smart Port Ecosystems on society. Lastly, the coordination and the governance on the ports’ side should define common goals and align strategies. Ports serving similar regions need to elevate and think more in terms of a system.

Follow us for a practical insight in Smart Port Ecosystems

Interested to see who participated in our series of interviews, and what are the contemporary trends and statements on each of these key topics? Find out more about possible approaches to build Smart Port Ecosystems in our upcoming series of blog posts and the final manifesto.

By Valentin Carlan, Researcher