Digitalisation of port infrastructure for real-time information


By 2050, ports will offer the fastest, most reliable service with zero-waste and zero emissions in a safe and secure environment at the lowest cost. Therefore, ports will be able to achieve zero-emissions in their own port operations and to adapt to the new demands following the energy transition. Driven by automation and cyber-physical systems, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies, Industry 4.0 will allow new digital and automated port environments to assist nautical operations, ship-port communication, cargo handling and other port operations. This dynamic will improve efficiency and increase the capacity to accommodate changing cargo and passenger flows. Moreover, the evolution of new socio-economic trends (blue growth, waterborne tourism, cruisers, automated transport, etc.) will lead to new port services and operations and to the enhancement of societal responsibility (employability, accountability, etc.) of port activities.


Port operations serve both the ship/vessel and the cargo and passengers that pass through the ports. Port operations add value to the port infrastructures to provide easy navigation and give shelter to ships and vessels with nautical services (signalling, dredging, traffic management, locks management, piloting, mooring, towing, etc.) and other complementary services (dredging, bunkering, waste management, inspection, maintenance, etc.).

Furthermore, port operations add value to the port infrastructures to provide a smooth cargo and passenger flow in their transition to the next node in the transport chain, providing efficient cargo handling services and connections between transport modes. Finally, port operations should be adapted to meet the future challenges of the Waterborne sector, characterized by capacity, efficiency, environmental, social and security concerns, in which energy transition, the circular economy, digitalisation, robotization, inter-modality and collaboration, amongst others, will play a crucial role.