Smart port city, a post-carbon ecosystem

Plenary Session 5 : Smart Port, Smart City, how to match performance to challenge ?

Today, 6 November sees the close of the 14th AIVP World Conference Cities and Ports in Durban. A morning session packed with content, emphasising that three days are not enough to fully cover the status of port cities.
Hong Kong, Barcelona and Vancouver presented the work they were doing. James Wang, Professor of Geography at the University of Hong Kong discussed how the Chinese port was stronger when it placed operators at the centre of the logistics chain, instead of ignoring them in the decision-making processes as was usually the case. Catalina Grimalt, IT Manager of the Port Authority in Barcelona, the fourth largest port for cruise ships in the world, outlined how the port had become “smart” through digitalisation. James Crandles, Development Director at the port of Vancouver expressed the hope that by 2050, the Canadian port would have made a radical energy transition.
Jorge Martin Jimenez, from the Quality and Innovation Department at the Port Authority for the Balearic Islands wanted to create a platform for the smart port city to dialogue on the web. He has put together a tourist itinerary centred on the coastal lighthouses, with a corresponding dedicated application. Jan Schreuder, Project Manager for the port of Zaanstad in The Netherlands presented an e-harbour where the consumer is asked to become the energy producer to overcome the energy instability caused by renewable sources.
What makes a port city “smart” ? Is it possible to provide a clear and accurate definition for this ? The consensus reached at the end of the event was that a port city is “smart” when it can move over to the post-industrial management of energy, without depending on coal, in a context where education, business and town planning intelligence all become a single ecosystem. “We need an energy transition that involves people’s habits” explained Nicolas Mat, a researcher at the Ecole des Mines d’Ales. He gave the example of the port of Marseilles, saying that “this was one of the most difficult things to do”. According to Mat, “the performance of ports in the future must only be based on the best possible management of resources”.