The port of Rotterdam wants to work as an app
Photo: APM Terminals – Port of Rotterdam
The port of Rotterdam is focusing more on digitization with an oblique eye on Uber and Amazon. This is the result of the annual report that Tuesday appears. The importance of cybersecurity is also increasing.
The port of Rotterdam wants to digitize faster. The Port of Rotterdam Authority has set up a new department that focuses entirely on digital port services. “Looking at the rapid developments around companies such as Amazon and Uber, we have come to the conclusion that we had to take serious steps,” says director Allard Castelein in a telephone explanation of the annual report that appears on Tuesday.
For example, the new department, which consists of 60 developers, is working on bringing together supply and demand digitally. In this way, the port will have to function more and more as an app that allows shippers, pilots and terminals to transport goods more easily and efficiently. For example, the ‘Navigate’ platform has recently been launched, allowing shippers to fill in the port of departure themselves and then see how the system offers various options via Rotterdam.
Another new digital platform should ensure that shipments reach the port by up to 20 per cent faster by making waiting times at quay walls, near warehouses and further in the chain shorter.
The Port Authority urges companies in the port to share a lot of data so that it can analyse this information with self-learning and predictive algorithms. “In the end, we may also want to sell these types of systems to other ports,” says Castelein.
The port as an app, that sounds nice, but there are big risks involved. We saw that last year, when a cyber attack with hostess software NotPetya put a terminal of shipping and oil company Maersk in the port of Rotterdam down for days. “We take that danger very seriously,” says Castelein.
The Port Authority set up a joint venture in the area of cybersecurity last year. The port of Rotterdam is also experimenting with blockchain technology that can make it more difficult for hackers to break into.
The NotPetya hack cost Maersk 300 million euros, but according to Castelein did not cause major problems in the rest of the port of Rotterdam; because the ships that would arrive at the affected terminal would arrive at other terminals. “In the end, two or three ships sailed to another port. This did not result in a significant cost item for the rest of the port. ”
A recent British intelligence report on NotPetya pointed to the Russian government as perpetrator. Are you more concerned now that the focus is on shutting down the civilian infrastructure? “We have been designated by the government as a critical infrastructure, and that is a good thing,” he says. “We have sufficient contact with the government about the various digital threats. We work well together, but I can not go into that for obvious reasons. “According to him, there have not been any major cyber attacks in the port since NotPetya.