The Port of Rotterdam Authority and IBM have partnered to transform the port’s operational environment using Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technologies.
The initiative is the first step in preparing the 42km port, the largest in Europe, to host connected ships. It starts with developing a centralized dashboard application that is capable of processing real-time weather and water sensor data through IBM’s IoT platform.
Sensors are currently being installed on quay walls, mooring posts and roads across the Port of Rotterdam — which extends from the City of Rotterdam to the North Sea. These devices will gather data on tides and currents, temperature, water levels, berth availability, visibility and wind speed and direction.
This data will then be analysed by IBM’s cloud-based IoT technologies and turned into information that port officials can use to make decisions that reduce wait times, determine optimal loading and unloading times and enable more ships to take advantage of available space.
For instance, the Port of Rotterdam will now be able to estimate the best time, based on water level, to have a ship arrive and depart with the maximum amount of cargo on board.
According to a statement from the port, the new initiative will save up to one hour in berthing time, which can amount to $80,000 in savings.
"Here in Rotterdam, we are taking action to become the smartest port in the world," says Paul Smits, chief financial officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “Thanks to real-time information about infrastructure, water, air, etc., we can enormously improve the service we provide to everyone who uses the port, and prepare to embrace the connected, autonomous shipping of the future."
The Port of Rotterdam and IBM are also working together long term to uncover other application of IoT technologies and artificial intelligence.