Major challenges on energy transition, climate, mobility, and digital transformation are ahead of us and are closely linked to the activities of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, being the 2nd largest port in Europe and the 2nd largest integrated chemical cluster in the world. The recent merger between the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge will further strengthen the development of this economic powerhouse, certainly also towards
becoming a major sustainable energy hub.
Where innovation-with-a-purpose is a driver to enable the necessary transformations, Port of Antwerp-Bruges has been a frontrunner in the implementation of innovative ports solutions.
This is only possible in a cooperation model where Port of Antwerp-Bruges accelerates the development of innovative solutions by supporting several innovation hubs such as The Beacon; a platform where 100+ technology companies on Internet-of-Things (IOT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) meet, connect, collaborate and get inspired or Plug&Play Maritime Antwerp; an innovation platform focused on the maritime industry or NextGen Demo; a zone within NextGen District providing space and support to startups in sustainable chemistry, energy and circular economy.
Ports are busy hubs with a wide variety of activities. The development of new IoT-devices, smart cameras and radars allow a higher level of automation in shipping. Port of AntwerpBruges has developed a first-ever fully automated depth-sounding vessel, the Echodrone. Based on real-time AIS (Automatic Identification System) and radar information, the Echodrone navigates its way through the port smartly, autonomously and safely.
As an open innovation platform, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is developing a network of drones to ensure a safe port. Pioneering since 2018 with a wide range of solutions using drones, it’s the first port in the world which has a UTM (unmanned traffic management) system implemented to ensure efficient and safe use of drones by the various stakeholders in the port. Automated drones are being deployed to survey the large port area on potential risks and provide real-time footage in case of incidents or oil spills or detect concentrations of floating debris. In the course of 2022 more than 500 drone flights a month will be performed to monitor, detect or inspect infrastructure and the port area.
This is operated on a 5G network, so images can be streamed live to our command & control center.
As one of the leading ports in the world, Port of Antwerp-Bruges aspires to be the ‘Port of the Future’. It uses innovation as a lever to turn today’s major challenges such as energy transition, digitalisation and mobility into solutions. Through collaboration and the implementation of new technologies it continues to build on the sustainable growth of the port and make it more efficient, safe and smart.