Project Description

The holistic approach to a smarter, greener and more sustainable port ecosystem


Expected Impacts

Reduction of impact on climate change and the environment of port activities

Maritime shipping emits around 1000 million tonnes of CO2 that is equivalent to about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions23. Shipping emissions in ports are substantial and approximately 2% of the total shipping emissions, accounting for 18 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, 0.4 million tonnes of NOx, 0.2 million of SOx and 0.03 million tonnes of PM10 in 201124. This, together with emissions from trucks and trains that carry cargos to and from sea ports, pose major environmental challenges especially for the residential areas in the neighbourhood of the ports. Without action, these emissions are predicted to increase between 50% and 250% by 2050 – depending on future economic and energy developments25. The PortForward project can address this challenge by reducing GHG emissions from ships and trucks by supporting informed decisions by port managers through the development and implementation of the novel concept of green scheduling (GS) for port operations. GS will help reduce vessels waiting time at ports by optimising the operations plans for staff and equipment such as cranes and IMVs and reduces the need for unnecessary stacking and shuffling of containers at ports through better coordination between land transportation (trucks and trains) and the vessels loading/offloading plans. In addition, the optimised operations will result in less traffic and waiting times both for the ships and the inland vehicles. The AR and VR modules will support Port managers to highly optimise the operations inside the port, increasing transparency for all actors involved and avoiding bottlenecks. Thus, PortForward will result in incr easing the quality of infrastructure use and the port service portfolio, avoiding congestion and extra emissions, contributing highly to the Directive 2012/33/EC, the main objective of which is to reduce ships’ emissions of SO2, NOX, primary particles, CO2, and to eliminate emissions of ozone-depleting substances will be addressed26.The activities proposed in PortForward will help European ports moving towards a circular economy bringing benefits for both the economy and the environment. It is estimated that implementing GS will lead to the 10% reduction in ports annual emissions.

Reduction in port operational and infrastructural costs

The operational costs of the planned biggest container terminal are projected to top 28.627 million euros in 2023, from 7.610 million in 2021. PortFoward will help port managers and decision makers to assess the needed investment to maintain and upgrade such large infrastructures. Presently, operational costs are assessed using fixed flat rate percentage of CAPEX, or even through by projecting operational costs appraised for only one year in the long term. We expect that PortFoward will contribute to better identify source and trends of this cost items event in the long run and thus eventually lead to a significant reduction (likewise the same rate achievable through efficient procurement for equipment, which is a reduction of 10%). If we take data from Port Productivity rankings27, we can see the difference of productivity among regions of the world (e.g. in 2013, 130 container moves per ship, per hour on all vessel sizes for Tianjin
port, vs 86 moves in Bremerhaven, the European port with highest productivity in the same year), and the leaps of productivity within the same terminal from year to year. These improvements in productivity “derive primarily from terminal operating fundamentals such as paying greater attention to operational details, and devoting more assets to work the mega-ships” therefore Decision Support Systems can contribute to improvement of port operations by providing strategic support for investment in/assignments of assets that have a higher impact on port operations productivity. PortForward will provide benefits for both public and private sector. In particular, it represents a valuable Decision Support System (DSS) for public players who will use it for strategic planning and management of investments in port infrastructure. Moreover, the platform would be an effective support for private operators who, thanks to ITS-based real time monitoring of freight flows, can optimize port activities. Overall, this leads to an improvement of quality of the service, higher reliability, reduction of inefficiencies, optimal management of flows and therefore a considerable reduction of costs in terms of inventory costs, empty returns, port fees, etc. PortForward aims at a 10% reduction of total operational costs.

Improvement of logistics efficiency

The objective of the project is to improve efficiency of logistics related to freight transport by decreasing transit time, resulting in overall increase of efficiency of the entire logistics chains. A 10% to 30% improvement in efficiency in the EU logistics sector has been estimated to yield savings ranging between €100 billion and €300 billion per year28. Significant improvements in the logistic chain will be achieved through better traceability of cargo at port gates and within the logistic nodes. More in detail, upgrade in the efficiency of the logistic chain of Ro-Ro units (trailers and semi-trailers) may affect some 340 thousand units per year for an average port like Livorno. Even if not all Ro-ro units may take advantages of PortForward improvements, some 1 million euros per year can be saved in such a port, by lowering the time lapse for controls at gates and hence port dwell time of cargo. In terms of improvement of logistics efficiency, PortForward aims at reaching a substantial reduction of times and costs of freight custom clearance. Through PortForward platform, the target is a 50% reduction from 19 days and 1195$29, currently necessary in average for a container export (for documents flows, in house transport and handling, custom clearance, freight inspections, etc.) to 9 days and 900$ on average.

Better integration of the port in the surrounding socio-economic area, including city-port relations  and the smart urban development of Port Cities

Ports are vital to Europe and their surrounding cities affecting both the society and the economy surround them. In fact, the whole EU maritime industry cluster produces a turnover of €270 billion and directly occupies 1.5 million employees. EU harbours handle around the 90% of the EU external trade and 35% of the intra-member states transactions; resulting to a total 3.7B tons gross weight of goods in 201330. 74% of goods entering or leaving European continent are dispatched by sea and Europe boasts some of the finest port facilities in the world. Ports also play a crucial role both in the exchange of goods within the internal market and in linking peripheral and island areas with the mainland. As a result, thriving Ports means thriving city-ports from the economy side. However, ports are not favourable places to stay due to criminality and pollution. PortForward will reduce the emissions, making ports greener, will optimize the urban development of the surrounding areas with high-tech workers and cutting edge technology in the port which can be connected with the port-City through PortForward’s IoT and operation management. Ports will support more employment, greener environment, and eventually after their  connection wit h the port-cities they will become the technological and the literal ecosystems.