Port operations

Digitalisation of port infrastructure for real-time information

Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org


By 2050, ports will offer, at the lowest cost, the fastest reliable service with zero-waste and zero emissions in a safe and secure environment. Ports will be able to:

  • Achieve zero emissions in their own port operations
  • Facilitate the new port operations demands following the energy transition
  • Provide real time information (digital port concept) to assist nautical operations, ship-port communication and cargo handling
  • Improve nautical operations, ship-port interactions and cargo handling
  • Accommodate changing cargo types/flows and changes in passenger transport
  • Embrace new services (blue growth, marine tourism, cruisers, larger ships, maintenance for automated vessels, etc.)
  • Exercise and enhance their responsibility in an automated transport environment and their societal responsibility (employability, accountability, etc.)


Port operations serve both the vessel and the cargo and passengers than pass through the ports:

They add value to the port infrastructures to grant easy navigation and give shelter to ships with nautical services (signalling, dredging, traffic management, locks management, piloting, mooring, towing, etc.) and other complementary services (dredging, bunkering, waste management, inspection, maintenance, etc.).

They add value the port infrastructures to grant a smooth cargo and passenger flow in their transition to the next node in the transport chain providing efficient cargo handling services and connection between transport modes.

Ports operations should be adapted to meet the future challenges of the waterborne sector characterised by capacity, efficiency, environmental, social and security concerns, where the energy transition, the circular economy, digitalisation, robotisation, intermodality and collaboration, among others, is going to play a crucial role.  

The European waterborne sector should identify and develop different lines of research and innovations in order to adapt port operations to this vision of the future.


c/o SEA Europe, Rue de la Loi, 67 (4th floor), Brussels B-1000, Belgium

Tel. +32 2 230 2791



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