Smart Ports Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Smart Ports Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Framework Conditions for Innovation

Lead partner

Antwerp Management School





Project budget

4 154 162

ERDF amount

2 457 654

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    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.

    Main Achievements

    The project is well on its way to achieve the ambition of connecting the port and smart tech communities. Despite some struggles to find the right staff, it has no critical deviations, especially with regard to deliverables that could block the on time achievement of the intended output. In the first year, the project has succeeded mainly in laying strong foundations for a collaborative smart port ecosystem in terms of connecting organizations, people and perspectives. The focus was on building the infrastructure for collaboration (e.g. the ideation platform, designing and organizing the different port and tech-stakeholder co-creation events, shared mental models such as a co-created smart port maturity framework, the basis for a shared vision and roadmap, and the collection of innovation ideas and criteria and procedures to bring them forward. On this basis, the project will focus in the second year on stimulating direct collaboration.

    The added value of the cross-border collaboration was present in all work package activities, perhaps most ostensibly in the events. The cross-border and multidisciplinary composition of the project consortium has contributed greatly to the success of the events. The perspective and insights from the port of Antwerp's experiences with smart port solutions opened eyes for the UK stakeholders in the Poole stakeholder engagement event. In the Moerdijk event, a mix of Belgian and Dutch tech entrepreneurs offered insights and solutions that were greatly appreciated by the Dutch port stakeholders, who were found prepared to collaborate on 5 challenges identified during the workshop with the smart port entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the mix of French, UK, Dutch and Belgian coaches on the hackathons in Hasselt and Lille was enriching for the hackathon participants as they implied different and complementary viewpoints, which increased the vetting and quality of the proposed solutions. Overall, the sharing of best practices across the different port areas has also contributed to a joint understanding of the challenges, resource requirements, needs for new standards and regulations,... they share in becoming smarter ports. Perhaps even more importantly, it also contributed to the awareness of which roles they can play in a collaborative 2 Seas ecosystem of smart ports. Form 2020 onwards, our focus will now more be on stiumlating direct cross-border and cross-sector collaborations.



    Universiteit Antwerpen

    Université de Lille

    Stichting Katholieke Universiteit Brabant

    WSX Enterprise

    University of Bournemouth

    Portsmouth City Council


    CITC-EuraRFID Centre d'innovations des technologies sans contact

    Haven van Moerdijk

    Poole Harbours Commissioners

    Portland Port Limited

    Borough of Poole


    URL / Download

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