Smart Ports Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development
Priority AxisTechnological and Social Innovation
Framework Conditions for Innovation
Lead partnerAntwerp Management School
Project budget4 154 162 €
ERDF amount2 457 654 €
Global competitiveness is putting pressures on Western European ports to be more efficient and innovative. Especially in large and complex port environments there are numerous opportunities for efficiency gains in the logistic chain. Simultaneously, new advances in data science and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are enabling more efficient ways to communicate and integrate entire supply chains. High-tech start-ups and SMEs are leading the way in these technological developments. Currently, port environments do not fully take advantage of data science / IoT technologies. Further, high-tech start-ups / SMEs often struggle with professionalization of their technological ideas and business activities. As a result, performance of the Western European ports is hampered. Similarly, the full development potential of high-tech start-ups and SMEs and their subsequent economic contributions are not realised.
This project aims to develop and support the growth of a nascent connected port solutions ecosystem backed by data science and IoT technologies. Bottom-up initiatives are forming around this common goal, mainly among maritime logistics players, port authorities and large IT providers. The current objective is to also connect to and develop a community of ambitious data science entrepreneurs (start-ups and SMEs), data science & maritime experts and knowledge centers. As such, the project aims to translate innovations from both technologies into a connected and multi-modal port environment and generate more efficient communication and logistical streams through dedicated data-based solutions. On top of this, the project aims to reap the full business potential of high-tech start-ups and SMEs, professionalize their business activities and increase their overall (international) performance.
- Mobilizing a network connecting 2 Seas regional data science high-tech start-ups and SMEs, data science and maritime experts and knowledge centres and port stakeholders, to support the Western European ports and port stakeholders who are in need of data science solutions,
- Building a common approach to facilitate the development of data science applications for port logistics problems, supporting the Western European ports and port stakeholders who benefit from improved technology adoption and a joint technology roadmap.
- Build a common approach to develop and improve the technical value delivering, commercialisation capacities and professionalization of smart port entrepreneurs and for the adoption of smart port solutions, to the benefit of (internationalizing) high-tech start-ups and SMEs, and port application users.
Cross border approach
In the light of a number of global trends in maritime transportation, market positions and traffic flows are expected to shift. Changes such as the next-shoring of manufacturing from China to other South-East Asian countries and the upgrading of its industry along the value chain (from mere routine production to value-adding activities) have triggered the Chinese policy makers to redefine their strategy toward globalization and trade. Their investments in the port of Piraeus and central European transport infrastructure have a substantial effect on the 2 Seas ports’ positions in European transport corridors. With the increasing global competitive pressures, Western European ports will have to be more efficient and more innovative to remain competitive. In the light of the increased globalization, only a cross-border approach can result in sufficient efficiency gains resulting in increased competitiveness.
Towards its overall aim of creating the ecosystem conditions for accelerated smart port innovation in the 2 Seas area, SPEED is increasingly creating an impact and generating spontaneous interest in the European - and global - smart port community. Even despite Covid, our network is growing, as is the interest in the innovation portal from WP1, the smart port webinars, the smart port maturity model and ecosystem audit methodology from WP 3B. Meanwhile, work packages 2 and 3A are gearing up to introduce the technical and business model tool kits for smart port entrepreneurs they have been developing en we're looking forward to finally organize the twice postponed smart port conference in September 2021.
Beyond the deliverables promised, the project's activities are also stimulating follow-up innovation and research projects. As a testament of our impact on moving the innovation mindset in ports: after the ports of Portsmouth and Antwerp, we're now also in full prepration of 2 more open innovation challenges for monetary prizes with ports outside the consortium: Zeebrugge and Northsea Ports.
Yet, despite these promising results and the optimism being built towards innovation among the consortium and the smart port stakeholders it engages with, SPEED's mission builds on the frequency and intenstiy of engagement with the stakeholders. So, in this sense the project's activities have been substantially impacted by the inability to meet physically in 2020, especially with regard to how intense we would like to engage with the target groups.
Especially the more intensive support foreseen in the development stage and after, in piloting and delivery, are heavily impacted and will require that constraints on physical interaction are relaxed in 2021.
As an indirect consequence, reaching the 950 users of the innovation support throughout the innovation project lifecycle is becoming challenging, yet the introduction of the tool kit (O4), the smart port conference (D 5.4.1) are expected to be significant drivers of recrtuiùent and engagement. Hopefully a relaxation of Covid measures against physical meetings should also provide more engagement opportunities, as especially the more intensive engagement events (hackathons & physical meetings) always cause a spike in registrations.