Innovation platform fuels collaboration

eco project Face-to-face encounters between port project sponsors and innovators are planned for the IAPH World Ports Conference in March 2020. Image: IAPH
Industry Database

A new partnership will see the development of a worldwide sustainability-focused innovation platform, where ports can engage in pilots and partnerships with start-ups and scale-ups.

PortXL has joined IAPH’s World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP) as a partner and the short-term plan to bring IAPH members into contact with the network of innovators is now underway. The matching process will culminate in face-to-face encounters between port project sponsors and innovators at the IAPH World Ports Conference next March.

"The port industry is of major significance for an economy, nationally and internationally," commented PortXL co-founder and director Carolien Vat-Sandee. "But at the same time port industry activities impact the environment. So if we want to sustain the growth of the economy, we should look after our ecology. And innovation is actually the answer for both."

Specialist support

Supported by corporate partners that include Van Oord, Shell, MSC, DEME, Boskalis and Vopak, PortXL scouts over 1000 start-ups and scale-ups and selects up to twenty for each of its locations every year. Those selected then gain access to hands-on mentorship, training and are given the chance to pitch to organisations to implement paid-for pilots and proof-of-concepts to demonstrate their innovations in a live environment.

IAPH member ports are currently being offered access to the PortXL startups via an online form where they can either declare their interest or submit specific challenges to the PortXL network. By the time of the IAPH World Port Conference in Antwerp next March, these ports will have a chance to "meet and match" the start-ups face-to-face on location to discuss concrete pilots and trials.

"The plan is to create viable matches by allowing port authorities to connect their own major stakeholders and companies operating at their port with the PortXL-endorsed innovators," commented PortXL director, Cees-Willem Koorneef. "Port Authorities know which of their customers and stakeholders might be best equipped to trial and use these innovations. This has already yielded results at the Port of Rotterdam, North Sea Port and the Port of Antwerp, but really a coastal location of any size, anywhere in the world could benefit. As an example, it is in Gibraltar where the world's first wave-generated electricity is being fed into the grid."

In 2018, PortXL expanded from Rotterdam to Antwerp and Singapore and in 2019 it has assisted the Italian port of Taranto with the development of their own innovation hub.

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