ANTWERP: Antwerp Port Authority is collaborating with the City of Antwerp, the University of Antwerp and IMEC to develop a “Capital of Things.” One example of this is a digital platform for secure, efficient release of containers for collection within the port.
Capital of Things
With the Capital of Things the four partners in this ambitious project aim to develop a unique ecosystem based on the Internet of Things (IoT). This ecosystem will comprise a dense innovation network that creates value through a combination of training, research, living labs, venture capital, corporates and international brands.
The innovation network will focus on five areas that will help to develop the structure of the city and region: the smart city, e-health, the smart port, industry 4.0 and the circular economy. The first practical result is the development of a unique, inter-university course on the Internet of Things which will start in September this year, leading to a “post-master’s” degree. The curriculum will be offered in close synergy with the business world and IMEC, the research and innovation hub for nano-electronics and digital technology.
T-Mining ensures secure, efficient release of containers
The Antwerp start-up T-Mining is currently working on a pilot project based on a blockchain solution for secure, efficient release of containers on the terminal. Thanks to this technology the process which involves various parties (shipping company, haulier, freight handler, forwarder and ship’s agent) can be digitised and made secure.
“Currently a haulier uses a PIN code to collect a container on the terminal,” explains Nico Wauters, CEO of T-Mining. But this PIN code passes between various different parties that are involved, so there is a risk of it falling into the wrong hands and the container being collected by an authorised person.
With our blockchain platform the right truck driver is given clearance to collect a particular container, without any possibility of the process being intercepted. Furthermore our platform uses a distributed network, so that the transaction can go ahead only if there is consensus among all participating parties, thus excluding any attempts at fraud or unauthorised interference.”
Smart management of the supply chain is an area of main effort for the Antwerp Port community. This will be accompanied by innovations in infrastructure management, logistics processing and traffic flows. The Port Authority will coordinate in this area with NxtPort, the neutral data-sharing platform of the private port community, with the emphasis on IoT start-ups for innovation in the logistical, maritime and industrial context. The ambition is to connect all the main assets in the Port of Antwerp in real time, offering end-to-end integration with the private port companies in an open ecosystem.
The Port Authority also aims to attract new activities driven by technological developments such as the circular economy, biochemistry and sustainable energy.