Skip to main content

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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PortForward (Towards a green and sustainable ecosystem for the EU Port of the Future)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

The PortForward project is working towards establishing a vision for the Port of the Future and develop necessary technical solutions to implement that vision. A major focus is on leveraging and combining digitalization technologies, such as VR, AR, IoT and cloud computing. The PortForward project especially addresses the needs of small- and medium-sized ports and their associated port communities. Specifically, PortForward addressing the three main strategic objectives of enhancing ports’ operations to become:
• Smarter – through ICT solutions, enhancing the exchange of information
• Interconnected – using of a combination of different modes of transport and the integration of different technologies
• Greener – by adopting green technologies
PortForward brings together 13 European partners to tackle these challenges. On the project’s operational level the consortium is working on the following objectives:
1. Smart logistics platform for ports
2. Remote management and maintenance platform
3. Internet of Things middleware
4. Green scheduler for yard operations
5. Augmented Reality supporting maintenance
6. Virtual Port Tool for VR- and AR-based visualization
7. Supply chain related stakeholder engagement
8. Examine socioeconomic effects of port emissions
9. PortForward Dashboard
10. Validation in 5 Use Cases
WP1 was closed in M8. Work in the work package facilitated a harmonization of approaches to the stakeholder description and the understanding of the structuring of the use cases, as well as the explicit technical capabilities of each partner in the use cases. On-site meetings at relevant use case ports were carried out to clarify specific aspects.
WP2 was closely coordinating with WP1 to achieve the expected results and synchronize work, e.g. through synchronized surveys in the first six months of the project. Specific focus was on the technical aspects of the port infrastructures and use case partners. The work focused on the architecture design.
WP3 focused its work on the technical integration, with a specific focus on IoT components and the definition of the underlying technical infrastructure and its connection to the envisaged services. A first version of the middleware was launched and made accessible to the project partners.
WP4’s focus on service development is coordinated with requirements development. On-site meetings helped to define the scope for the services. There has been further coordination between the relevant use case partners to define the relevant service and technical needs.
WP5 is concerned with the service development for the Green Yard Scheduler. Extended on-site meetings at Vigo towards the beginning and at the end of the reporting period helped to define the scope for the service. The project published first results on the environmental assessment of port operations by applying the life-cycle assessment methodology prototyped for Container Terminal of Port of Vigo.
WP6 addresses the digital twin concept, dashboard and decision support. The work progressed in developing and describing the underlying concepts for the port digital twin and the PortForward decision support system.
WP7 achieved a process for the comprehensive and structured description of the use case validation. An assessment framework for the project’s use cases was designed. The focus is on an end-user perspective for the use case assessment.
WP8 coordinated the establishment of the project advisory board and organized its first meeting. Further, coordination to identify relevant exploitable results to ensure sustainability. Standardization activities were started.
WP9 established a project website and social media accounts and coordination with Docks the Future. Use of partner networks to ensure presence at relevant events, e.g. Docks the Future or ALICE, to disseminate results. Cooperation with stakeholders was pursued. The project also used different events to disseminate project information to the wider public.
WP10 organized half-yearly project management meetings, established project structure, including communication and cooperation rules, so that the consortium has a common understanding of the project objectives and how to cooperate to achieve them. Implementation of a common document repository and online workspace.
WP11 was closely coordinated with project management to define procedures in the ethics context. It laid out the ethics procedures and requirements for the work in the project.
PortForward aims to address the 10 aforementioned objectives comprehensively and holistically through advancing digitalization in small and medium sized ports. The project also targets to minimize energy consumption and GHG emissions, andto analyze trade-offs between the objectives in comparison to current practices.
PortForward project addresses the following innovation spheres:
Innovation 1: IoT-enabled port
PortForward will overcome the current IoT fragmentation by taking a holistic view, encompassing devices, IoT communication infrastructure and back-end platforms. By leveraging and extending open standards and data models, a streamlined solution for the roll-out of both IoT devices as well as novel LPWAN communication infrastructure will be designed in order to speed-up deployment, reduce integration effort and improve manageability.
Innovation 2: Green scheduling in ports
The Green Scheduling includes a new multi-objective model and efficient and robust intelligent search technique, which is able to quickly find good-enough approximations of Pareto frontiers among the conflicting objectives including cost- and service-oriented KPIs, and environmental sustainability measures such as fuel emissions, energy consumption, and peak power demand. It will support informed decision making with a focus on environmental sustainability of yard operations.
Innovation 3: Stowage optimization
PortForward will explore new concepts for cargo traceability, trying to reach higher levels of automation when tracking cargo, thus helping to reduce the costs of the whole process. PortForward will go beyond current most widespread technologies and exploit the support from other complementary technologies in order to reach the maximum level of automated traceability at the optimal technology costs.
Innovation 4: Digital twin and decision support
Static solutions as a starting point will be further developed to dynamic solutions applicable in dynamic port environments. The novel interface with the IoT middleware will provide a new dimension of data processing and visualization to IoT applications. The IoT-enabled Virtual Port Tool and Decision Support System will enable new functionalities for process monitoring and control and the support of VR- and AR-based assistance solutions for operators.
The first 18 months established the contextual and technical foundation for the project’s developments. With the design of the technical architecture, the project made progress in ensuring the interoperability objectives. For the Green Yard Scheduler, a first version of a sustainability assessment was developed and deployed. Different concepts for using tracking technologies were defined for the use cases. A version of a virtual twin model for the port of Magdeburg was used in the project to define interfaces for subsequent dynamics.
The further periods in the project will focus on the technical implementation, and in the transfer and exploitation activities.
PortForward Generic Architecture