BPO Digitalization Working Group discusses current projects in Baltic ports
Members of the Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) Digitalization Working Group met yesterday to discuss the recent developments related to the digitalization process in the Baltic ports. The meeting also featured a preliminary presentation of a report prepared within the Connect2SmallPorts project, focusing on a practical approach to the aforementioned process.
The report, based on findings of a questionnaire conducted between representatives of various Baltic ports. Ports selected for the survey included, among others: Kaskinen, Klaipeda, Pietarsaari, Riga, Roenne, Rostock and Stockholm.
Core objectives of the study featured:
• Mapping of the recent digitalization projects in ports within the Baltic Sea region (BSR)
• Analysis of the distribution of said projects according to corresponding port processes and port areas
• Exploration of reasons behind the implementation of said projects
• Preparation of recommendations for future digitalization projects and associated training
The majority of ports that took part in the survey declared either already having a digitalization strategy or being in the development process of such. Additionally, most of the ports stated that they possess a digital business model currently in its implementation phase. Port representatives agreed that further cooperation and exchange of information regarding the development and implementation of digitalization projects is essential and would be of great benefit.
Main difficulties identified by the report were related to a fairly low level of employees with dedicated IT educational background within the ports. This is certainly a point requiring further attention. Most Baltic port representatives are aware of the importance of the digitalization process and the associated training but progress could be faster. Especially smaller ports are putting the implementation of more advanced digital solutions, as the lower turnover numbers might not warrant such investments.
Digitalization in Baltic ports
Members of the group gave a brief overview of the most recent, ongoing digitalization projects. Leading the field are solutions linked to the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the digital twin technology.
"Leading the field are solutions linked to the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the digital twin technology."
The Port of HaminaKotka is developing its digital twin together with GISGRO, integrating various other systems with the solution. The tool is practically operational but more advanced packages are being added continuously. Port of Kaskinen is also working on a similar tool, while at the same time focusing on encouraging all operators and partners to get involved in the NEMO project.
NEMO is a maritime traffic notification system, one to eventually replace the Portnet notification system and be implemented in all Finnish ports. It will be utilised in a variety of processes, such as monitoring the border crossings of persons, maritime search and rescue, overseeing the transport of hazardous substances, collecting fairway dues, port operation, safety and security surveillance, planning port state control and monitoring infectious diseases. Thanks to the new system, notification data on port visits by merchant ships will be sent to many different recipients on a centralized basis through a single system.
Another tool discussed during the meeting was the Port Activity App, already in use in various Finnish ports. The app provides a toolset for ports to improve the overall efficiency of port flow. It is a user interface for port digitalization and communication, strengthening collaboration between various parts of port operations and traffic.
Also worth mentioning is the ongoing implementation of automated solutions for smart gate systems, ETA prediction solutions and a port community system (PCS) at the Port of Riga. The Port of Rostock on the other hand is currently actively looking for systems which will allow it to streamline and in turn increase the efficiency of tasks related to invoice and document management.
"(...) decisionmakers seem to be mainly focused on the ship operators’ perspective but the point of view of the ports should also be considered, as it is an important piece of the puzzle."
An interesting point was raised by representatives of ION, regarding the steps undertaken towards setting an ISO standard for port call optimization solutions. As of right now the decisionmakers seem to be mainly focused on the ship operators’ perspective but the point of view of the ports should also be considered, as it is an important piece of the puzzle.
The Members of the Working Group have made preliminary plans to finally meet during a face-to-face meeting, potentially later this summer.
You can read more about the NEMO project here.
You can read more about the Port Activity App here.