The Port of Barcelona has launched its latest Innovation Plan, placing emphasis on economic and social growth.
The plan was recently unveiled by Damià Calvet, President of the Port of Barcelona, and Emma Cobos, Director of Innovation and Business Strategy.
According to the port, innovation means turning new ideas into value for the port community, its customers, and society at large.
The new Innovation Plan, which develops the proposals specified in the port’s Fourth Strategic Plan, establishes its own innovation model based on the smart port concept and therefore considers that innovation must be sustainable, open, collaborative, demand-driven, aligned with the port’s strategy, and have a string technological base.
The scheme defines three main objectives: strengthening the Port of Barcelona’s role as a driver of economic growth and recovery; driving innovation and digitisation of the logistics ecosystem; and fostering synergies with the city in this area.
The plan is structured around four lines of action:
- Developing nimble and cross-cutting management tools involving the port community of Barcelona;
- Forging alliances with the innovative environment of Barcelona;
- Stimulating sectoral innovation;
- Disseminating the port’s innovative activity.
Calvet went on to explain that the Port of Barcelona “has always been at the forefront of the Spanish port system and also of the Mediterranean and European ports when it comes to proposing, designing and putting into service innovative solutions.”
According to the President, Barcelona “is today one of Europe’s tech capitals, highlighting its commitment to developing mobility and energy model solutions that facilitate the transition to a sustainable city model that takes particular care of people and the environment.”
Consequently, the Innovation Plan proposes “a new model of participation, which must be collaborative and open, and which requires the active involvement of Barcelona Port Community and the innovative ecosystem of the city.
“We have set ourselves the goal that all of this powerful technological and innovative ecosystem that is being developed in Barcelona will look out to sea.”
Cobos continued by stressing the importance of having “a structure that is more nimble than the Port Authority, able to promote new initiatives quickly and efficiently”.
For this reason, the Innovation Plan provides for “the creation of the BCN Port Innovation Foundation, which will facilitate the management of innovative initiatives and the acceleration of technological, environmental and energy transition projects that must facilitate the transformation of Barcelona and its Port”.
BCN Port Innovation is a private foundation with a prominent participation of companies from the Port Logistics Community as partners and the Port of Barcelona together with two technology companies, Ackcent and Aggity as founding patrons, which Cobos says will provide a dynamic and external vision to the port maritime sector.
The organisation will be the meeting and debate forum in which port companies will discuss the increasing challenges being generated by international transport and logistics.
The Director of Innovation and Business Strategy added: “There can be no open innovation without alliances and collaboration.”
In this connection, there are plans to promote the Blue District, a forum for sectorial innovation located mainly in the Port Vell area, where such facilities are already set up.
The Port of Barcelona has also recently announced it is investing €110 million ($123 million) into its Nexigen project to decarbonise port activity and improve air quality.
A total of €90 million ($100 million) of the funds will go towards onshore power supply systems.
The remaining €20 million ($22 million) will be used to roll out the network that includes the Port Substation, the high-voltage connection to Red Eléctrica’s Ronda Litoral Substation, and the roll-out of the medium voltage network throughout the precinct.