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AI Case Study

The Port of Rotterdam is collaborating with IBM to become a smart shipping port using data to boost efficiency and drive down costs

The Port of Rotterdam has a planned project with IBM to implement IoT sensors and capture a wide variety of shipping and environmental data to better predict the impact of logistics changes for efficiency and safety gains. Ultimately this will result in cost savings for shipping companies.



Freight And Logistics

Project Overview

From IBM: "In the long-term effort, the port will use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data to become more efficient and cost-effective, the press release said. The project may show how emerging technologies can be used to alter workplaces and industries, and its success may drive other ports to do the same. The IoT sensors are a key feature of the smart port, as they will measure weather, water, and communications data. The data will provide insights into the port's activities, and may be able to help employees reduce wait times and select the best entry and exit times for the cargo ships.

Using IBM IoT we will create a digital twin of the port – an exact digital replica of our operations that will mirror all resources at the port of Rotterdam, tracking ship movements, infrastructure, weather, geographical and water depth data with 100% accuracy. This part of our digitization initiative will help us test out scenarios and better understand how we can improve efficiencies across our operations, while maintaining strict safety standards... Digitally optimized berthing can improve safety as well as efficiency. The guidance can reduce wait times, enable faster loading and unloading, and allow ships to come and go more quickly

We are starting to use IoT sensors, Augmented Intelligence (AI) and smart weather data, orchestrated by IBM and other partners to measure things like the availability of berths and other vital statistics. For example, accurate water (hydro) and weather (meteo) data will allow shipping companies to predict the best time to enter the port of Rotterdam by identifying the most favourable conditions. The Weather Company, an IBM company, will provide us with accurate weather data and the IBM solution will also analyse water and communications data. The data, along with real-time information from ship captains and other officials, will be available in a dashboard, granting all parties the necessary information to fully use the port, according to the release."

Reported Results

As the project is planned, results are not yet available. However, Tech Republic reports that according to the press release, "shipping companies and the port could save up to $80,000 an hour with the fully implemented changes".


Details undisclosed



General Operations


According to IBM, the port is "Europe’s largest seaport. In existence since the 13th Century in a shallow delta at the intersection of Germany, France, the Netherlands and the North Sea, the port has grown to handle more than 461 million tons of cargo annually carried by more than 130,000 vessels."



Variety of real-time data including weather, hydro, ship captain information.

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