The 'Smart Ports. Piers of the Future' event brought together six of the world's largest ports and has turned Barcelona into the world capital of port innovation. At the Smart City Expo World Congress, held from 19 to 21 November at the Fira de Barcelona events centre on Gran Via, the ports of Antwerp, Barcelona, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Montreal and Rotterdam joined forces for the first time to set up their dedicated smart ports exhibit booth in which each port showcased the most advanced projects they are currently working on.
This first ever 'Smart Ports' event, that was extremely well attended, was an opportunity for participating ports to share their strategic plans to address present and future sustainable development and digital transformation challenges. This is what the representatives of each port had to say about the success of the event:
Piet Opstaele, Innovation Lead, Manager Innovation, Port of Antwerp: “The whole industry is facing challenges. Collaboration, like this worldwide network, is the key. Continuous investments and innovations are necessary to keep the edge. Therefore, the focus of Port of Antwerp for the future is on digital and energy transition. We ‘walk the talk’ by sustainably investing in the development of hard, digital infrastructure and processes in view of building the port of the future. As community builder we aim to be pioneer smoothening the path for innovation while investing in those areas in which the market has not developed yet. In these turbulent times it is our mission to act as a lever for stakeholders that spot innovative opportunities. Therefore, we strive to be an open innovative platform that allows new technologies to be introduced. Innovation with a purpose.”Mercè Conesa, President, Port of Barcelona: “It is the first time that ports have shown great innovative projects in a congress focused on cities. This demonstrates the growing interaction between port and city. Energy transition, as well as digitalization and innovation are challenges that must be faced all together, cities and port. And also ports of the world together. And this is the strength of this ‘Smart Ports. Piers of the Future’ first edition. The Port of Barcelona is committed to lead in Europe the ports transformation into smart ports and we have to do it in collaboration with the best ports in the world. We are convinced that this first edition of Smart Ports has been a completely success and that is why we are sure that there will be a second one”.Jens Meier, CEO of Hamburg Port Authority (HPA): “We believe that the event is an excellent networking and knowledge sharing platform to promote projects related to Smart Ports in an environment surrounded by the most innovative projects that through digitalization enhance efficiency in ports and cities. The city is a key element to consider for every project that is carried out in the Port of Hamburg, since it is located in the heart of the city, so it is really part of our daily life. For this reason, this congress will let us learn from innovative solutions of ports and cities facing similar challenges.”
“The ‘Smart Ports’ conference made it clear that the digital transformation is leading to a data rich environment that can benefit every link in the maritime supply chain,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “In collaboration with other forward-thinking ports, we envision leading the way in securely using big data to improve the reliability, predictability and efficiency of seaborne trade. We thank and congratulate Port of Barcelona President Mercè Conesa i Pagès, Deputy General Manager Santiago Mila and the entire conference team for hosting such a well-organized and insightful event."
“It is important to come together as an industry to demonstrate how ports are contributing positively to maintain a sustainable balance with their respective surrounding cities by leveraging digital solutions”, said Daniel Olivier, Director, Business Intelligence and Innovation at the Port of Montreal. “That's why the Port of Montreal is acting as a North American leader in smart solutions in harbor trucking among other initiatives.”Thea de Vries, Director Marketing & New Business, Port of Rotterdam: “The digital transformation leads to fundamental changes in society. We are not living in an era of change, but we are living in the change of an era. When we embrace energy transition, digitization and innovation and see it as an opportunity then we are able to grow in a sustainable way. With our ambition to be the world's smartest port, Rotterdam is committed to lead the digital transformation of ports and logistics. The transition to a sustainable economy requires not only collaboration with all players in the city, port and region. But also with a worldwide network of ports. By creating a global network of smart connected ports efficiency in global trade lanes will increase, while costs and carbon emissions will be reduced.”Representatives of companies related to port activities presented their most innovative ideas that could compliment the ports digital and sustainable transformation strategy. A total of 40 presentations were made at the 'Smart Ports' exhibit booth, and nearby North District Agora where the key projects of each port were showcased.
Two side events also took place within the 'Smart Ports' framework: ‘Policy & Sustainability ahead: IMO 2020, Transparency, Digitization', a conference addressing the upcoming IMO 2020 regulation, which will force ships to reduce the sulphur content of their fuels, and the 'Smart Ports Barcelona Summit', a congress during which representatives from various ports took part in debates around innovation.
Smart City Expo World Congress is the world's first smart cities expo and received 25,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors from 150 countries. The congress involved more than 60 parallel events and over 400 presentations.