DIGITALIZATION OF SEAPORTS – VISIONS OF THE FUTURE provides the seaports industry with a much-needed SWOT analyses of the digital landscape as it pertains to port authorities, their communities and indeed the wider maritime supply chain. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
The global logistics industry has entered the digital era, and for the most part, ports have lagged behind on the cutting-edge developments of the digital revolution.However, Hamburg is the exception and with the publication of DIGITALIZATION OF SEAPORTS – VISIONS OF THE FUTURE provides the seaports industry with a much-needed SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses of the digital landscape as it pertains to port authorities, their communities and indeed the wider maritime supply chain.

The Global Institute of Logistics welcomed the publication as “making a vital contribution to the building up of best practice in port management. Kieran Ring CEO said: ‘The publication outlines in a clear, concise manner the megatrend which is digitalization and expertly takes the reader on a journey through the opportunities and challenges for the seaport and wider maritime supply chain community. It achieves its objective of stimulating and enhancing the current debate on the effects of digitalization, I would recommend it to anybody who is serious about understanding the digital landscape.”

Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) is regarded as the “first mover” in the adoption of smartport initiatives and is adamant that ports who recognize and adapt quickly to the potential of the digital world will overcome and prosper in these challenging times. HPA has implemented numerous innovative projects as part of its SmartPORT program which has been underway since 2014. From this foundation, now HPA is broadening its scope to explore and implement digital strategies which address the wider challenges of increasing visibility and velocity in the maritime supply chain.

Speaking at the launch of the publication which was coauthored by the HPA and the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services, Dr. Sebastian Saxe, Chief Digital Officer, Hamburg Port Authority explained the motivation in publishing the booklet:

“Decision-makers within the maritime industry and the wider supply chain need answers to the looming question on what are the opportunities that the digital shift offers seaports and to which of the innumerable possibilities attributed to digitalization are best suited to provide much-needed efficiency gains. With this book, we want to stimulate the necessary discussion about future digitally induced scenarios in seaports. Our minds need concrete images of the future to shape reasonable and intelligent paths towards this future”

There is an additional motivation for the book’s publication: Competition. While there is no doubt that digitalization has enormous potential for making maritime supply chains more efficient, flexible, and agile digitalization also has the potential to disrupt. Digitalization allows new vendors from other sectors to implement disruptive business models that might make existing processes, products, and services superfluous. First signs of this development can already be observed in the maritime industry.

Dr. Saaxe commented:
“In the shipping business, for example, new players from other sectors are already challenging the status quo increasingly successfully by implementing innovative, digital business models. It is, therefore, time to shape the digital transformation along supply chains and networks of value creation hand in hand with the established actors.”

Port authorities are in a unique position to play a pivotal role in leveraging digitalization, they are all custodians of the maritime nodes in the global supply chain and are being increasingly relied upon by port end-users and modal operators to perform the function of coordinators and communicators in their respective port communities.

Unlike the other actors in the maritime chain, port authorities are semi-government institutions and are subject to the highest level of scrutiny and accountability both internally and externally. As a result, port authorities are in the position of” trusted and honest broker .“ This status is crucial when digitally gathering collecting and disseminating data in real time. The performance of this function will result in great efficiency enhancements throughout the port and across the supply chain. What is more interesting is its potential to develop new and innovative business models. However, for this, seaports need to connect better and become more globally integrated. Once again Hamburg Port Authority is seizing the initiative in this development and is actively working with other seaports including the Port of Los Angeles and Busan supported by the Global Institute of Logistics in the development of chainPORT

Prof. Carlos Jahn, Head of Fraunhofer CML coauthored the publication and is extremely positive about the ports in the digital age. Speaking at the launch of the book he said.

“Digitalization holds great potentials for seaports to act even more efficient and effective. Once the possibilities of intense real-time data exchange are exploited, digitalization will facilitate optimization of the whole supply chain. This will eventually allow safer and more environment-friendly processes. Besides safeguarding and strengthening the competitive position of seaports, digitalization enables to become more flexible in a rapidly changing market environment.”

To read an overview of the book in advance of purchase please CLICK HERE
To purchase the book at a cost of €49 CLICK HERE


Hamburg Port Authority has been providing future-oriented port management services since 2005. As an institution under public law, the HPA is responsible for paving the way for the efficient, resource-friendly and sustainable implementation of infrastructure projects in the port. The HPA is the contact point for all kinds of questions concerning the waterside and the landside infrastructure, the navigational safety of vessel traffic, port railway facilities, port property management and the economic conditions within the port area.

The Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML develops and optimizes processes and systems along the maritime supply chain. CML conducts practically oriented research projects that support public and private sector clients drawn from port operations, logistics services and the shipping business.

For Further Information:
Contact Dr. Sebastian Saxe, Chief Digital Officer, Hamburg Port Authority:
phone: 0049-40-42847-2324