Wärtsilä launches smart port vision

Smart Marine ecosystems vision
Wärtsilä's Oceanic Awakening,’ initiative aims to help ports move towards achieving greater efficiency and sustainability. Credit: Wärtsilä
The Mangrove vision is both self-sufficient and fully powered by renewable energy Photo: Wärtsilä
The Mangrove vision is both self-sufficient and fully powered by renewable energy Photo: Wärtsilä
Industry Database

Wärtsilä has launched an initiative to connect some of the most influential port cities to embrace and develop Smart Marine ecosystems by 2020.

Helsinki, Rotterdam and Hamburg are supporting the ‘An Oceanic Awakening,’ initiative launched at SMM to help ports move towards achieving greater efficiency and sustainability using digitalisation and cost-effective, carbon-free shipping via smart vessels.

Wärtsilä president and CEO, Jaakko Eskola, said: “We simply cannot afford to wait for the marine and energy industries to evolve at their own pace. The calls for greater efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity are simply too strong to be ignored."

“Rapid acceleration to benefit the entire sector, as well as society at large, is urgently required, and ‘An Oceanic Awakening’ is our wake-up call to everyone, heralding the beginning of our journey to making the future of shipping and energy a reality.”

Digital visions

To fulfil its mission, Wärtsilä has formed SEA20, where cross-border dialogue and co-creation will be fostered through an ongoing series of events and workshops. First cities to support the idea of promoting sustainable marine through comprehensive co-operation are Rotterdam, Hamburg and Helsinki.

A creative session held last month in Hamburg, brought together 18 world-renowned experts from New York, Singapore, Helsinki, Rotterdam and Hamburg. During two days of participatory design, the collective intelligence produced a series of visions explaining how they felt cities of the future could better engage with the ocean.

Visions spanning cutting-edge transport provision along urban coastline, the introduction of marine-centric innovation hubs and the positioning of off-shore smart ports will be used to inspire politicians and the global marine sector to address problems caused by rapid urban growth.

The Ecotone is a term for the meeting of two natural ecosystems creating a third one. This vision suggests that the SEA20 cities port areas begin housing innovation hubs. These would be dedicated to the piloting of developments that may potentially be realised more fully in the same port or elsewhere following a small-scale test phase. The innovations sketched here range from logistical development to tourism and beyond.

The Mangrove is a new landmark providing a new way to look at the coastline, both literally and metaphorically and is both self-sufficient and fully powered by renewable energy. The top of the Mangrove also provides a new green space for the city’s visitors and inhabitants. Small vessels and underground tunnels connect the Mangrove to the mainland.

The Blue Belt situates the new “smart port” at a remove from the shore, while the city coastline is given a radical clean-up, ensuring swimmable waters and a new setting for residential and commercial development at the core of the urban environment. As the ports move away from the shore, the coastline can be used for entirely new purposes, bringing an innovative dimension to city life.


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