Maritime has to “step up” to digitalisation

Oscar Van Veen Mr Van Veen explained that the Port of Rotterdam created a digitalisatiion ecosystem. Picture: Rebecca Jeffrey
Industry Database

The maritime sector needs to focus on digitalising whole processes to optimise cost reductions and reduce CO2 emissions, the Port of Rotterdam’s manager of digital business solutions has said.

Speaking at TOC Europe 2019, Oscar Van Veen stated that the sector needs to “step up again” to target supply chain visibility, seamless trade links and port call optimisation.

“We do this to get enormous cost reductions of course and the second really important area is you get a CO2 reduction,” he said.

Increasingly important

He added that once all organisations and areas start working together on areas including energy transition, autonomous vessels and autonomous trucking, digitalisation is “going to be bigger than money and sustainability”.

Mr Van Veen explained that the Port of Rotterdam created an ecosystem to realise the innovation needed. It is working together with schools, universities, funders, hackathon organisers. It also uses PortXcel to find startups all over the world in the maritime sector and has an initiative for blockchain.

Tackling the process

Offering a port authority perspective on digitalisation, he advised starting the digitalisation process with your own company, then beginning to connect to your community.

“In Rotterdam we have a company for that funded by the Port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. It’s port-based and we interconnect with the terminals, shipping lines, bunkering parties and so on. And then we try to connect inland, exchanging information with inland terminals for supply chain visibility.”

The next step is becoming a global connected port, Mr Van Veen said.

“We’re trying to enlarge our world and across the globe, other ports are trying to do that. Our motto is also ‘think big, act small.’ Just take small steps together to get things started,” he advised.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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