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Towards a green and sustainable ecosystem for the EU Port of the Future

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - PortForward (Towards a green and sustainable ecosystem for the EU Port of the Future)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2022-06-30

The PortForward project was working on the vision for the Port of the Future. The project especially addressed the needs of small- and medium-sized ports and their associated port communities. Specifically, PortForward addressed the three main strategic objectives of enhancing ports’ operations to become:
• Smarter – through ICT solutions, enhancing the exchange of information
• Interconnected – integrating different technologies and services on one platform
• Greener – by integrating green criteria into optimisation

PortForward brought together 13 European partners. The project work focussed on the development of the PortForward Platform and the implementation and testing of individual Services in ten Use Cases. These Use Cases addressed various topics like:
- RoRo Stowage Optimisation
- Port-City Interaction (for Cruise Passengers)
- Green Yard Scheduling and Environmental Assessment
- AR-Assistance for Port Operations
- Port Authority Dashboard for Port Performance
- Asset Tracking and Status Monitoring (for Logistics Operation and for Predictive Maintenance)

All Use Cases developed were supported by the referring port partners, with single Use Cases directly showing potential for transferability among the ports in the consortium. Besides the individual exploitation perspectives for single technical solutions developed, also a joint exploitation approach has been developed combining several project solutions and also enabling joint exploitation with results of other sister projects.
The work in the project was organised in 11 Work Packages: WPs 1+2 focussing on analyses and conception, WPs 3-6 focussing on development and implementation of solutions (platform, services, use cases), WPs 7+8 focussing on use case and market assessment, WP9 with focus on dissemination and communication and finally WPs 10+11 focussing on project management and ethics.

Within the work packages 3-6 the following key exploitable results were achieved:
- development and implementation of the PortForward Platform. The platform is part of further exploitation as described in the business plan. Furthermore, some technical elements of the platform will exploited via open source strategy.
- development of Services for the Use Cases with focus on technical solutions and methodologies - major results here are:
- RoRo Stowage Optimisation and Asset Tracking which will be further exploited for port applications
- Green Yard Scheduling for economical and ecological optimisation of container terminal processes - this service will be exploited with further ports
- Status Monitoring based on novel sensor technologies (e.g. LoRaWAN-based, LiDAR-based) which can also be well exploited in other industrial context
- development of novel User Interfaces:
- Port Authority Dashboard (PAD), which integrates several KPIs to provide a wholistic overview on port performance - the PAD will be further used at the project port and will be exploited among other ports
- PortForward Dashboard (PFD), which enables customised dashboards to integrate different port services - exploitation also relevant in other industrial context
- AR-based assistance solutions using SmartGlass applications to provide port operators with relevant context information and to enable remote support - further exploitation in port and maritime sector as new application fields
- Virtual Twin to integrate dynamic real-time information into a spatial 3D port model to enable intuitive understanding of complex process relations - exploitation also relevant in other industrial context

The Services and solutions developed were continuously disseminated through the various channels of the project (website, youtube, twitter, linkedin) and were also presented in tradefairs, conferences and other public events. Furthermore specific Stakeholder Workshops were organised and the project results were also presented in Advisory Board Meetings and the Final Demonstration of the project.
Main progress beyond the state of the art was achieved with the following developments:

Green Yard Scheduling (GYS) and decision support: the development of the GYS offers significant optimisation potentials for the planning and scheduling of container terminal operations, including the optimisation of reduced environmental impact of the operations. Thus, the solution also shows high potential for socio-economic impact by potentially reducing the environmental impact of port processes. The optimisation and decision support functionalities of the GYS and the referring progress beyond the state of the art was summarised in several scientific publications. Other specific decision support features were developed e.g. for the Use Case of Stowage Optimisation for RoRo vessels.

Data Integration and Dashboarding: based on different input sources the project worked on the integration of various data and their processing in cloud based services. The use of such approaches is a major step beyond the current state of practice in small and medium sized ports. Specific developments for the data integration and the progress beyond the state of the art was described in several scientific publications. The Port Authority Dashboard (PAD) integrates several data to calculate KPIs in five pillars and thus provides a wholistic overview on the port performance. Such integration of distributed data and KPIs is a big progress beyond the state of practice for most ports. The PortForward Dashboard (PFD) integrates the data outputs of several services and can be flexibly customised by individual ports.

AR- and VR-based User Interfaces: in total four Use Cases made use of novel AR- and VR-based user interfaces. Two Use Cases used AR-devices to provide process relevant information to operational staff in the field to assist their operations. This enables the operators to better concentrate on their core tasks and to reduce side processes. The solutions developed show high practical potential beyond the current state of port operations. VR-based user interfaces were developed with the so-called Virtual Twin of a port, integrating dynamic data to enables an intuitive perception of such distributed processed in one single user interface. Specific developments for the Virtual Twin and the referring progress beyond the state of art was described in several scientific publications.

Furthermore, the project helped to demonstrate and validate the potentials of digitalisation in the project ports. Experiences gained by the ports using such solutions will further boost the digitalisation of port processes and of port communities and enable a quicker and easier adoption of other novel digital solutions. Referring economic potentials of digitalisation and data integration were shown to the ports and related stakeholders. Specific societal impact by the project is on the one side the risen awareness of the ports regarding their environmental impact and on the other side the provision of solutions and technical approaches to reduce this impact by optimising and better synchronising port processes as also specifically assessing the environmental impact of port operations.