Capitalising on port data to drive innovation and performance

Published on: 14 April 2021
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Crédit photo - GPMM


“Smart port data”, the “French Smart Port in Med” digital platform

Data is the basic building block of the digital transformation that all organisations need to engage in to maintain performance levels and be competitive.  “French Smart Port in Med”, which is responsible for the smart port transition in Marseille-Fos, has developed a digital platform for collecting and sharing data about the port’s activity, including its context, pollution, road traffic and weather. This “Smart Port Data” tool is operated by Aix Marseille Provence Métropole. It holds over one hundred data sets on logistics and energy activities in the Marseille-Fos port. This is the high-quality raw material that students, researchers and startups need to develop innovative services that increase the performance and acceptability of the port’s activities.

Unleashing the value of the data generated by MGI’s port community system

As the operator of the Marseille Fos Port Community System (PCS), Ci5, MGI has generated a number of data sets for the shipping and freight activities of regular international shipping lines. Once this data capital had been compiled with the help of other contributors, the process of making it usable was launched. MGI’s goal was to find new uses for its data by opening it up to external approaches and perspectives. The first initiative focused on data visualisation. The aim was to raise people’s awareness and promote the port’s activities as key for driving business in the region and raising its international profile, challenges facing everyone in the port ecosystem.

An innovative approach to using port community system data, called Hackaviz

A number of student groups took on the port of the future visual representation challenge – called Hackaviz – focused on energy, logistics flows and a theme of their choice. Over three months, multi-disciplinary teams of students (including graphic designers, data scientists and logistics and energy specialists) used the smart port data sets and proposed data visualisations of the energy and logistics flows transiting through Marseille-Fos Port Authority facilities. A jury made up of several contributors to the platform selected the winner. The DIVERCITIES team came first in this Hackaviz with an original approach to visualising goods and ship flows using several data sets shared by the platform. As well as a financial prize, the DIVERCITIES team will be invited to meet with MGI to discuss current data analytics initiatives combining industry and technological approaches.

The Smart port data approach is a key tool for improving innovation and visibility

This first positive application suggests that the smart port data platform will be a key tool operating as an indispensable component of the “French smart port in Med” project. A number of other initiatives involving this approach are therefore in the works to encourage innovation in and around the port through collaboration with other companies, start-ups and research organisations. They will create value within the region and contribute to raising the local, national and international profile of the Marseille-Fos port community.


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