Port of Rotterdam executives outline benefits of ‘digitisation’ and ‘green’ developments

Port of Rotterdam executives outline benefits of ‘digitisation’ and ‘green’ developments

Yvonne van der Laan opening the forum

The Port of Rotterdam is not the world’s biggest port, “but we can be the smartest,” according to Yvonne van der Laan, the port authority’s Director of Process Industry & Bulk Goods.

She was addressing the joint IBIA and Port of Rotterdam “Bunkering in the Digital Age” technology forum on May 16, held at the PoR’s offices.

Digitisation is an interesting topic for a slightly conservative industry, she observed. The PoR started looking into this ‘mega-trend’ 10 years ago to work out how to make best possible use of a huge array of data generated in the port’s business, ranging from vessel movements to product turnover and more.

For example, when it comes to bunkering, data can help make fuel choices in the port more transparent. “We are working on that to get a better view on the bunker breakdown in this port,” she said.

Some major trends are already observed. Overall bunkering volumes in Rotterdam have been declining in recent years, having dropped to about 10 million metric tonnes in 2016. Sales of marine gas oil and ultra-low sulphur fuel oil, meanwhile, have been growing and sales of these products are expected to continue to grow. Rotterdam is also hoping to maintain its position as one of the world’s leading bunkering ports by offering environmentally friendly fuels, hence it has started offering LNG bunkering services and is developing biofuels.

Moreover, the port is looking into using remote sensor technology on drones to measure sulphur emissions from ships. “We believe in a cleaner and smarter port,” said van der Laan.

She mentioned the Port Call Optimization project, a drive help the trend toward the world becoming more transparent by putting data to good use.

Ben van Scherpenzeel from the Port of Rotterdam presented the outlines of the Port Call Optimization project, which in essence is trying to enable the alignment of port information with other global systems and create incentives for sharing data and information. This should help ship operators obtain access to information such as port berth availability and various restrictions/requirements associated with entering ports.

At present there is no uniform supply chain standard for shipping because, although it is a huge international business, it is fragmented. Everyone is in their own ‘bubble’ and ports are competitors, van Scherpenzeel said.

He said a website is under construction for the Port Call Optimization project.

Report by Unni Einemo

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