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Smarts ports, present or future?

Smarts ports, present or future?

Smarts ports, present or future?

The concept of smart port involves the use of new technologies to transform public services in port enclaves. Its main objective is to meet the needs of port users with greater efficiency and productivity.

The implementation of this type of measures influences all the services and products of port terminals. In addition to facilitating and optimising port management, it also makes it possible to obtain greater performance from the dock as a whole.

Many experts explain that betting on a smart port must be approached as a long-term strategy that involves firm projects and takes into account the growing demands for efficiency, economy, safety and environmental compatibility.

Concrete examples of how technology can help improve the operation of port logistics include recording the number plates of incoming and outgoing vehicles through cameras, including forecasting systems and security alerts, or monitoring trucks at the entrances and at the terminals themselves.

In RFL we already talk about artificial intelligence in logistics, now, when we talk about ports and their natural evolution we arrive at the so-called smarts ports, the road to where ports are headed today.

Areas of smarts ports

The four main areas in which a port aspiring to become a smart port must work are:

  • Encourage the energy transition to cleaner energy.
  • Commit to digitalisation in all processes and operations.
  • Favour innovation at public and private level.
  • Promote cybersecurity.


The main advantages of a correct implementation of these technological measures are:

  • Port management is unified, simplified and automated (digital transformation).
  • Increase in the quality and quantity of operations (optimisation of loading, unloading, storage, ship forecasts, incidents, etc.)
  • Greater profitability. Efficiency in maritime transport and good port management will have an impact on the final price of products and service

Ports such as Barcelona, Seville, Vigo, Antwerp, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Montreal and Rotterdam currently have smart port initiatives. Examples that show that it is not just a matter of a distant future. The main themes of most projects are Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data or 5G.

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