White paper offers digitalisation guidance

white paper ‘Move Forward: Step By Step Towards A Digital Port’ examines port digitalisation. Image: Port of Rotterdam/BPA

A new white paper seeks to show how sharing data will help ports work towards digital maturity and grow into smart ports.

‘Move Forward: Step By Step Towards A Digital Port’ has been produced by the Port of Rotterdam in association with the British Ports Association Port Futures programme to examine port digitalisation.

It outlines a model for digital maturity that shows how ports need to develop and exchange data in order to keep up with the digital developments around them, highlighting that technology plays a key role but is not an objective in and of itself.

BPA chief executive, Richard Ballantyne, said: “Smart port operations can offer new ways of improving port services and infrastructure by getting the most out of our assets and joining up different parts of the supply chain within and beyond ports.

“This paper sets out some of the benefits of smart operations and how ports can benefit. Ports of all sizes face similar challenges in adapting to new technologies and developments in the industries we serve. Smart port operations will give ports the edge in becoming greener and ultimately, more efficient in serving the wide range of industries we support.”

Joyce Bliek, director of digital business solutions at the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said: “Digitalisation presents new opportunities to not only raise efficiency within logistics chains but also improve their sustainability.”

Four maturity levels

Four ‘maturity levels’ have been defined within the paper’s Digital Maturity Model. Level 1 is identified as digitisation of individual parties in the port; level 2 as integrated systems in a port community; level 3 as logistics chain integrated with hinterland; and level 4 as connected ports in the global logistics chain.

The model aims to enable ports to determine the point they have reached in their digital transformation and what the next steps will be. The higher a port’s digital maturity level, the more the port will benefit from digitisation, explained the paper.

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