Smart collaboration in the shipping chain


By 2050, port actors will connect and integrate maritime and hinterland logistics to a point where they offer the lowest costs and the fastest, most reliable service with zero waste and emissions in a safe and secure environment. In this regard, ports will be able to achieve zero-emission in port-hinterland logistics. Inland waterways and inland ports will evolve rapidly and play a crucial role in achieving these objectives, offering integrated multimodal solutions. Technological and logistical developments will allow real time information (digital corridors) to flow throughout the entire supply chain, providing the opportunity to transfer the cargo in a seamless way and offering customer-tailored solutions (synchro-modality, cost/time trade-off, new cargo handling solutions, etc.). This dynamic will enable an innovative business environment and will foster the smart collaborative planning of ship/vessel to hinterland logistics (capacity sharing, self-organising logistics, physical internet, coordinated inland navigation, etc.).

The increasingly changing demands from the logistics sector (sustainable procurement, real time cargo status visibility, etc.) will enable the adoption of new concepts like modularisation of cargo to achieve secure intermodality in transport (last-mile integration, Internet of Things for Customs and security, etc.). The integration of maritime and hinterland logistics will also provide expanding services to waterborne tourism and mobility, cruises and ferries, waterbuses and water taxis.


Maritime transport is part of complex logistics chains and transport networks where ports are key multimodal nodes linking maritime and hinterland logistics. Therefore, waterborne transport seaports and inland ports are not isolated, and their challenges are those of the logistics and transport system. The Waterborne sector should play a key role in the integration of maritime and hinterland logistics, paying special attention to inland waterways and multimodality. The multi-modal transport container is an example of previous developments which have taken this integration to a higher level through standardisation in an intermodal transport chain. Port community systems (PCS) and River Information Services (RIS) are other examples related to the integrated management of information. The logistics sector is facing the new challenges of the global/local - or so-called “glocal” - logistics and transport system (characterised by capacity, efficiency, environmental, social and security concerns) through the development of new concepts such as the physical internet, which involves innovations in modularisation, collaboration schemes, robotization, artificial intelligence and other IT technologies. This requires a further step forward in terms of the integration of maritime and hinterland logistics, in which the Waterborne sector, seaports and inland waterways and ports should retain a leading position and develop new versatile concepts for integrated door-to-door transport solutions.