Europe’s largest port inks a long-term digitisation deal with IBM in a bid to roll out a range of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
More than 461 million tons of cargo pass through the port of Rotterdam every year, and there’s a clear need for quick and efficient modes of transport.
Rotterdam’s authorities have been experimenting with IoT, artificial intelligence and smart weather data to improve efficiencies.
The aim of the partnership with IBM is to turn Rotterdam into a “model port of the future”, one which uses smart transport systems and can accommodate autonomous ships.
As part of the partnership, the Weather Company will provide the port with IoT-enabled sensors and systems to measure and analyse sea conditions.
By tapping into this data, the port will be able to “reduce wait times, allow more ships to enter the port and predict the best time for a ship arrive and depart”.
All this data will be displayed on a single dashboard. It’ll show information about the terminal operator, the captain of the ship and the port, enabling “more efficient traffic management at the port”.
There’ll also be so-called “digital dolphins, smart quay walls and sensor-equipped buoys”, which will provide further insight into the berthing terminal and the water. Port operators will be able to identify the optimal time for ships to dock.
Together with other partners, IBM is also supplying cognitive IoT and 3D printing technology to the port’s shipyards. The firm said the technology can “apply high-quality metal layer-by-layer to create ship components such as propellers”.
Using these technologies, the time taken to berth a ship could be reduced by one hour, saving the port and its customers $80,000, said Paul Smits, chief financial officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
“When multiplied across the 140,000 ships entering the port every year, this means that the port will be able to dock more ships while shipping companies reduce costs.”
Smits said that Rotterdam is on its way to becoming the smartest port in the world.
“Speed and efficiency are essential to our business, and requires us to use all of the data available to us,” he said in a statement.
“Thanks to real-time information about infrastructure, water, air, etc., we can enormously improve the service we provide to everyone who uses the port, and prepare to embrace the connected, autonomous shipping of the future.”