The challenge of modern ports: How to appropriate 4.0 technologies for sustainability?

 

In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as that which allows “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Do you know all 17 SDGs?, https://sdgs.un.org/es/goals (n.d.)).


The concept started to take shape and in 2015 “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations, as a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” (United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015,
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/milesstones/wssd, Sep 25th, 2015)


Given the importance of the oceans, the United Nations prioritized actions to positively impact the oceans and gave the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO the leadership of activities around the oceans, so that they can fulfill their commitments to SDG 14. The Secretariat has been mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to coordinate the overall work of the Oceans Decade”

 

One of the major players in the maritime world for obvious reasons are ports, they are the actor that connects trade globally. According to EMSA, maritime transport moves 77% of the European Union’s exports, one of the main reasons why ports have faced the challenge of being efficient with multiple tools that allow them to optimize their operation. Now the challenge is to go further, to be sustainable implies:

To connect with society

To be an engine of development, within their areas of influence,

To reduce the environmental impact of their operation, especially that caused by ships, this last one, a shared responsibility with shipping companies.

Having tools with 4.0 technologies that include internal data with the ability to connect to external data, incorporate sensors, have the ability to detect environmental risks in time, be able to diagnose them, and activate preventive and corrective actions, can make a difference in the ability to operate without restrictions. Avoid suffering delays with very high direct and reputational costs, and prevent sanctions from the control entities and actions of other ports and shipping companies that restrict traffic due to environmental risks.

 

In conclusion; the time to go down the path of sustainability is now, because the impact of maritime activity on the environment, specifically the quality of air and water, is increasingly in the sights of humanity; Being sustainable will soon be a requirement for the maritime activity, as much as being efficient in the operation; the great differentiator will be the use of HiTech 4.0 tools that will impact profitability as the great ally of the ports for sustainable growth.

 

We believe in the power of technology for a sustainable world.

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