Port of Rotterdam plots IoT rollout, efficiency push with IBM, Cisco, Axians

A series of IoT sensors and artificial intelligence tools will use weather, water and communications data to better manage ships' wait time, cargo and best time to come to the port.

Video: Europe's largest port is embracing the Internet of Things

The Port of Rotterdam is planning a long-term Internet of things rollout that's designed to move cargo faster, save money and optimize its operations via sensors, an IBM dashboard for traffic management and on-demand 3D metal printing.

Europe's largest port's digitization strategy is a multi-year effort using IBM's various technologies and services as well as products from Cisco and Axians. The Port of Rotterdam will create a digital twin of the port to track ship movement, infrastructure, weather, geographical and water data. The digital replica will help the port improve efficiency and overall operations.

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Credit: Port of Rotterdam

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Among the key items:

  • A series of IoT sensors and artificial intelligence tools will use weather, water and communications data to better manage ships' wait time, cargo and best time to come to the port.
  • An analytics dashboard via IBM that will aggregate data from multiple parties such as the terminal operator, captain of the ship and the port to manage traffic. According to IBM, the traffic management can save money by reducing berthing time. An hour of berthing time for a shipping company runs about $80,000.
  • Digital dolphins, smart quay walls and buoys with sensors will track condition and utilization of a berthing terminal as well as the surrounding conditions.
  • 3D metal-printing in the shipyards. The Port of Rotterdam's production efforts will use sensors to create ship components including propellers. This on-demand production ability will cut wait times for parts.

Sensors will be installed throughout the 42-kilometers of the Port of Rotterdam including mooring posts, quay walls and roads.