Creating smart ecosystems
Toward a blueprint for the smart shipping ecosystem in the Port of Antwerp
How do you create a fast growing market with global potential around a promising technology? That is the ambition of a new study carried out by AMS, on behalf of the Port of Antwerp.
Smart shipping–autonomous or semiautonomous vessels thanks to smart combinations of technologies such as AI and IoT–is one such technology that is expected to catapult inland navigation to a multimodal future within five years. This will enable inland navigation to reach its full potential by growing by a further 20%, thus relieving pressure on the congested roads in the port area.
The Port of Antwerp is playing a pioneering role in this by opening up its port platform to start-ups and port actors who want to further develop the technology through pilots, experiments and concrete applications. This has already created traction for some promising start-ups such as SeaFar and Blue Line Logistics.
But apart from the technological development, what else do we need to make smart shipping grow into a scalable and thriving market? Here too, the Port of Antwerp, together with The Beacon, is taking on a leading role as community builder to pave the way for the continued growth of this innovation. In order to guide them in this process with scientific and practical insights, the Port of Antwerp solicited AMS for academic support.
Among other things, Prof. Dr. Wouter Van Bockhaven and senior researcher Yassin Boullauazan will look at the maturity of the ecosystem in terms of technology and market application, and of the institutional system to support innovation and its applications. They will also investigate which applications have the highest growth potential and what role the Port of Antwerp can play in accelerating the development of smart shipping.
Some of the expected project outcomes are:
- An estimate of the market potential in various niches of semiautonomous inland navigation with a detailed specification of those applications around which the market can develop the fastest.
- An overview of the development priorities for the ecosystem in terms of actors, movements and platforms with a decisive impact on the growth and competitiveness of the Antwerp smart shipping cluster.
- A roadmap with targeted proposals for further investments and actions to expand the smart shipping ecosystem, based on the gap analysis in the internal and external ecosystem audit.
- An indication of the time and resources needed to bring various elements of the smart shipping cluster to maturity, as a basis for an effective allocation of resources.
This study will lead to recommendations for the Port of Antwerp to assume its role as community builder beyond the technological innovation phase. The study will provide insights into the viability and growth potential of different parts of the smart shipping ecosystem. The study will also indicate the Port of Antwerp’s strategic options to further develop the technology platform and its role as a community builder. Finally, the study will also analyze the needs for the further development of the ecosystem. The methodology developed in this study should also provide a basis for similar ecosystem audits concerning the other technology platforms of drones, air quality and the digital twin APICA.
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