Portugal Announces ‘Smart’ Shipping and Maritime Plan


The Portuguese government has announced an initiative aimed at accelerating the creation of smart technology start-ups in the shipping and ports sectors, according to a statement.

Named ‘Bluetech Accelerator – Ports & Shipping 4.0’, the programme is being led by the Minister of the Sea of Portugal and is designed to make the country a world leader in smart technology innovation.

The government has said it has already established a coalition of stakeholders, including shipping groups Portline Group and ETE Group, the ports of Sines and Leixoes and digital and robotics companies Inmarsat and Tekever to identify and finance start-ups in the smart technology and shipping industry.

The chosen start-ups will be announced in the last quarter of 2019, and the government has said it expects other stakeholders in the maritime and port sector to join the initiative.

Speaking about the initiative, Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, said, “The Portuguese port system must be seen as the front line of the implementation of the blue economy based on the operational, energy and environmental innovation of maritime industries, promoting the emergence of new companies.”

“This objective will be possible through the creation of a network of Port Tech Clusters, platforms for accelerating the technological and business innovation of sustainable blue port-based businesses.”

From here will be created new companies that will constitute and reinforce the Port Tech Cluster 4.0, innovation network that will be installed in the national port system focused on the application of industry 4.0 to the maritime-port sector.

The Port of Sines, a key participant in the scheme, signed an agreement last week with MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company to develop a new, next-gen container terminal.

The blue economy has represented 3.1% of gross value added in Portugal in recent years, and is now growing in several sectors, the Minister said, adding that there is a huge opportunity for blue growth for the country’s sustainable development. “And leaving an ambitious target for’ increasing the contribution of the Sea Economy to 5% by the beginning of the next decade.”

‘The first policy line aims to increase the efficiency of the traditional sea economy. The dynamics generated by innovation and continuous improvement will potentially lead to the second policy line, focused on the development of a new economy of the sea. This policy strategy focuses on ports as privileged access points to the sea and places with conditions for the installation of maritime industries.

Ana Paula Vitorino reaffirmed that the accelerator will be the driving force behind the creation of innovative solutions taking into account  key drivers  of change in the port business model and  shipping , such as artificial intelligence, low carbon economy , energy efficiency, autonomous ships, markets  online  for  shipping , integration processes based on technology  blockchain, cyber security, automation and robot control of maritime and port operations.

(Reference: Port Technology)

Sea News, February 5