SPSCT18 Expert Profile: Port of Rotterdam


The Port of Rotterdam is the biggest port in Europe, with a monthly throughput of 1.17 million TEU, and is at the forefront of marine innovation, using smart technologies, such as blockchain and the internet of things (IoT), to become the ‘smartest port in the world’ (IBM).

In January 2018, it announced it would collaborate with IBM on a multi-year digitisation project to transform its operations.

This includes a centralised dashboard application that will collect and process real-time water, weather, communication and sensor data.

Once completed, it will help the Port’s 42-kiliometre site to host connected ships and enable a safer and more efficient traffic management.

Operators at the Port of Rotterdam will also be able to view the operations of all the different parties at the same time, improving efficiency and safety.

The Port’s smart tech drive is being fuelled by SmartPort, an initiative run by the Port, government institutions and innovative businesses.

It has kick-started over 70 projects with more than 100 companies in and around the Port, all in the aim of turning Europe’s busiest port and largest industrial complex into a pioneering hub of smart technology.

The benefits behind the smart port drive are clear. In March 2017 Maersk and IBM ran a test shipment of flowers from Kenya to the Port of Rotterdam.

The voyage produced almost 200 documents, which accounted for one-fifth of the physical transportation costs.

As Europe’s busiest port, Rotterdam processes more than 140,000 ships every year, and the berthing of each vessel takes several hours.

Learn more about smart ports and how technology is changing the industry by reading a Port Technology technical paper

IBM estimates that its blockchain technology can speed up the process by at least one hour and save thousands of dollars per ship.

Smart port innovation is only one of the port’s major initiatives, with another focusing on sustainability and safety. 

The Port is researching and funding environmentally friendly technologies, including the ‘Cool Port’, a facility with 11,000 solar panels installed on its roof which produce 2.6 million kilowatt hours every year.



Furthermore, in September 2018, it joined an international initiative called the World Ports Climate Action Programme.

In doing so, it urged all maritime companies to renew their commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Rotterdam’s importance to the global supply chain and clear leadership in the smart port race is the reason it has been chosen as the venue for SPSCT18.

Joyce Bliek, Director of Digital Business Solutions at the Port of Rotterdam will open the conference on October 2 with a thought-leading keynote speech, entitled ‘Innovating Together’.

This will be directly followed by the ‘Smart Port Vision: The Rotterdam Story’ session led by Jan Gardeitchik, Business Lead Digital Business Solutions at the Port of Rotterdam, who will then sit down for a panel discussion with other top Rotterdam Port researchers and executives.

These include Rob Zuidwijk, Endowed Professor Ports in Global Networks, Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management; Roy van den Berg, Project Developer, Smart Logistics, SmartPort and Tim de Knegt, Treasurer and Manager Strategic Finance and Treasury, Port of Rotterdam.    

Be sure not to miss the October 2-3 Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies Conference in Rotterdam, which will bring together industry leaders and revolutionary ideas.

If you would like a unique insight into the Port of Rotterdam’s ‘Smart’ vision, you can send either Bliek, Gardeitchik or any of our other panellists a question through this link, which will then be answered at SPSCT18.

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