Industry leaders met at the global logistics hub of Barcelona for the city’s first ever Tech Tour Maritime, Trade & Logistics event.
Hosted by the Port of Barcelona, stakeholders from Maersk, Hutchison, and the port itself collaborated with the investor and VC startup community to select 30 innovative entrants to pitch how their solutions could turbocharge the maritime and logistics sector.
Entrants and supply chain actors met on 31 May at the World Trade Center, Barcelona, for roundtable and keynote discussion on meeting key challenges facing industry including improving operations during a global container boom, whilst digitalising processes and reducing emissions.
Attendees then continued the collaboration with a port and maritime museum tour conducted by the Port of Barcelona, with a final networking dinner in the evening.
Following on from the stakeholder sessions on Day One, on 1 June all attendees to the onsite summit met at the world-renowned SIL Barcelona logistics event at Fira Gran Via Exhibition Centre, Barcelona, to pitch their solutions.
Disruptive technologies highlighted and pitched during the sessions included autonomous platforms, blockchain networks, and cybersecurity systems; in addition to tracking and tracing freight systems to improve visibility in the supply chain; through to clean power generation solutions in a bid to create a more sustainable logistics sector.
Damià Calvet, President of the Port of Barcelona, said: “We are very excited to host this event at the Port of Barcelona. This is the first time we have hosted such an event where we have on one side the most innovative startups in the maritime, trade and logistics sectors – and on the other side, we have stakeholders who can finance them.
“This is very important for the sector and the Port of Barcelona, where we consider ourselves one of innovative ports of entry in the world. But we need to become more innovative and more efficient.
“Using innovation is crucial for economies, and crucial for the society we live in. The pandemic years have shown the importance of logistics chains, and now also with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, if you do not have strong supply chains then daily life can struggle.
This is very important for the sector and the Port of Barcelona, where we consider ourselves one of innovative ports of entry in the world. But we need to become more innovative and more efficient.
“For our local region, it is imperative to become greener,” Calvet said. The port is responsible for 75 per cent of all important exports in Catalonia, and 25 per cent of Spain.
He added: “We move the economy – and therefore everything we can do here in Barcelona to decarbonise the economy will benefit every stakeholder through our region.”
Hector Calls, Head of Sustainability, Port of Barcelona, said: “It is always positive to know about the new startups and technologies that can improve our processes to benefit the port community. I am especially interested in environmental systemic tools, new assets, and new equipment we can deploy in the port area.
“New technologies deployed in the port area will focus on optimisation, consequently reducing our carbon impact. Bringing in operational efficiencies will all be welcome, and this event will help us to do that.”
Rachael White, Co-President of Tech Tour Maritime Trade and Logistics 2022, and CEO of Next Level Information, said: “This event is thoroughly exciting, perhaps after quite a downtime in the market. The event is bringing together startups, investors, and established industry in maritime and ports to talk about the future. It has been full of energy and lots of opportunities for growth in the future so far.
“What I take away from the event is that there’s a real desire, as perhaps there wasn’t before the pandemic, and an awareness from the VC and investment community that there are great investment opportunities in maritime and logistics. There is a heap of startups coming with innovative ideas and solutions for shipping ports, containers, and a range of different stakeholders – and the maritime industry is aware that it has to engage with these communities in a new ecosystem.
“One of the things that attracted me to the event is that it has real hard outcomes. It leads to funding, long-term business relations, growth, and creating engagement with the investor community to cocreate in the future and build your network.
“I would encourage any startup to consider 2023 and meet with investors that they may not know. New investors are entering the market. It is a prime opportunity to build relations and get in front of people who can help fund you for the future.”
The event is bringing together startups, investors, and established industry in maritime and ports to talk about the future. It has been full of energy and lots of opportunities for growth in the future so far.
Edward Kho, CEO, Mely.ai, said: “We are based in Montreal and provide intelligent document processing solutions for logistics companies. We applied to the tech tour as we are looking for new opportunities crossing the pond, coming to Europe.
“This event is about collaborating and meeting people, and so it was a privilege to be joining so many important stakeholders to discuss their cvision and connect with us, building business relationships.”
Juan Altes, Client Account Executive at T-Systems, said: “As a panel discussion participant, the roundtables were interesting to take part in, finding out further why companies provide such solutions and their reasoning behind it. We learnt further also about how the industry could learn further about the investment market and avenues to help them.
“Roundtables included panels of C-Level executives in first-class companies worldwide. With that we found a very interesting way of understanding what a major business such as Maersk or Hutchison is about, and the challenges they have, and how investors and the startup ecosystem can play a role to help.”