The Port of Barcelona is a pioneer in the application of technological solutions in the commercial, public and logistics sectors. The aim is to generate efficient and transparent services that provided added value to the customer, while deepening its commitment to the environment and providing quality areas and services to the general public.
The Port of Barcelona is now defined not only as a pioneer Smart Port but also a port that is constantly innovating.
The Port of Barcelona’s smart way of working involves using technology to transform public services into interactive ones; showing an environmental commitment to become a sustainable port; and orientating port activities to the needs both of customers and the general public.
For over 15 years the Port has been fostering information technologies as a way to improve the services it offers to its customers. From automatic lighting to automated management of entry and exit control at the terminals to monitor and manage queues of lorries, removing the need for paper documents for delivery and collection of containers, the Port is working constantly to introduce new solutions to make life easier for individuals and businesses.
Improving operations benefits people
The Port has led initiatives to improve the working of the various port operations, which mainly benefit the workers. Thus, the introduction of paperless procedures at the entrances to the container terminals and the proactive policy rolled out to involve the land container transport sector in the use of telematic services, have substantially improved working conditions for drivers, often self-employed, who now have to devote less time to document management.
Other important participatory initiatives include the PortIC telematic platform, which serves the entire Port Community; the Port Management System project, located in the Control Tower, which ensures coordinated management of all the services provided in the Port’s waters (pilots, tugs, mooring, provisioning, etc.); and the storm forecasting system developed jointly with the national authority Puertos del Estado. The Port’s telecommunications networks are also a common infrastructure shared by the various companies operating there.
Like the Smart City, the Smart Port, puts people – members of the public, professionals, customers – at the epicentre of its activities. The Port of Barcelona uses technological and management tools to achieve an environment in which innovation and knowledge help to generate intangible values such as quality, reliability, responsiveness, adaptation to demand, etc., that help to define it to users and customers worldwide.
These values are manifested in specific services: better public information, transparency and easier documentary processes, reduced management costs, mainstreaming of information between operators, improved environmental and workplace quality, to name just a few. They are also reflected in important areas such as security: the Port is rolling out a project to collect Radar and AIS (Automatic Identification System) signals from vessels passing through the Port in order to anticipate possible incidents.
The Port of Barcelona is a Smart Port, the result of spending many years advocating a more efficient, collaborative and cross-cutting, sustainable, reliable and committed way of working. Being a Smart Port leads operators, customers and the public to enjoy a better and more efficient service and also increases its competitiveness.
The Ecocalculator: placing value on sustainability
The Ecocalculator provides Port of Barcelona customers a service that allows them to quantify their cargo’s environmental footprint and helps them meet their environmental commitments. Its purpose is twofold: to highlight the competitive advantage of the Port of Barcelona and the Mediterranean in the environmental field over its competitors in Northern Europe; and to provide shippers and operators with a tool that can help them to make decisions about routing goods using sustainability criteria.
This tool makes it possible to compare CO2 emissions between transport chains passing through Barcelona or through other European ports. The Ecocalculator, which is freely available on the Port website shows routes on Google Maps and allows the user to generate a report of the results on the basis of which to take decisions on the route and transport modes to be used in each case.
The Port, which already provided consulting services on this issue, has now embodied its commitment to climate change through this instrument. The Ecocalculator does not focus solely on the passage of goods through the port area but analyses the entire logistics chain door to door.
The Ecocalculator clearly shows that traffic between Europe and Asia passing through Mediterranean ports is more environmentally efficient, with estimated average savings of 15% in CO2 emissions with respect to routes through Northern European ports. Thus, if unloaded in Barcelona, Chinese goods en route to the centre of the Continent require 3 or 4 days less sailing time, allowing goods to reach their European destination sooner and therefore reducing their associated emissions. The Mediterranean port option helps to reduce congestion on the European transport networks and to reduce logistics costs (less investment in ships, lower fuel consumption, improved delivery times, etc.), thereby improving companies’ competitiveness.
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