The GISGRO online platform, created by VRT Finland, has taken its experience with large ports and is looking at ways to implement digital tools effectively in smaller sized ports in its latest strategy shift.
The software, which provides a smart and easy-to-use online platform for infrastructure management, has already been used at the likes of the Port of Hamburg but now the company is looking at how to offer this to small and medium-sized ports (SMPs).
“Generally, in terms of investment in smart port development there is a huge gap between actual global major players compared to the small and medium sized ports,” Karri Koistinen, Head of Sales at GISGRO, told PTI.
This gap has been realised through the work that GISGRO has already done with SMPs such as the Port of Moerdijk. Which is why the company has decided to bring the needs of SMPs to the centre of its strategy going forward.
Indeed, a new report launched by the World Bank and the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) highlighted how many nations are being left behind in the race to digitalise port operations.
The report suggests a divide has appeared between ports who have digitalised, mainly in the northern hemisphere, and those who have not, typically those in the southern hemisphere.
The company is first looking to spread this strategy through its Nordic roots but is having discussions on a global scale with ports that have the desire to implement digital tools.
“Because of the experience we already have and the work we are doing it means we can now concentrate on building this solution cost efficiently for smaller to mid-sizeed ports,” Koistinen said.
Ports must consider costs such as human resources when embarking on this kind of digital development, Koistinen pointed out. There are also multiple stakeholders to consider.
However, he pointed out that there is also constant competition between ports “the question is how to invest for future success with a limited budget.”
Environmental regulation from local authorities alongside the actual effects of climate change are also key considerations for ports going forward.
“Many of the small and medium-sized ports have put into their strategies that they want to grow their businesses in a sustainable manner,” Koistinen added.
The next step for many of these ports is becoming a smarter port. However, despite the presumption of a smart port being technology-driven, Koistinen said it is worth considering this kind of change as people-driven.
“I think that these kinds of technologies can be made simpler for the ports and the individuals actually working there,” he said. “Usually this means we go for simple implementations in a step-by-step manner.”