The port of Bilbao was the venue for the third meeting of the Bilbao PortLab Advisory Committee, where the six ideas supported by the port of Bilbao and approved by the Ports 4.0 funding programme were presented by the promoters themselves. The nature of the proposals reflects the diversity of the sectors and the type of projects and companies involved.
The organisations whose ideas have been awarded funding include the Research Centre CEIT, with its PORTPOS project to improve the efficiency of intra-port traffic; SERIKAT, a technology company whose Blockchain platform, known as CONFIADOC, is designed to improve interoperability of documentation between Agents, Port Authorities, Maritime Authorities and other public organisations; innovative SMEs such as NUAVIS, which, in partnership with TORO y BETOLAZA in a facilitating role, will develop a computer vision system to enable and improve warehouse management; and SUPRASYS, with its SUPRASHORE superconductor technology project for a ship-to-port power connection and a power cable designed to transport hydrogen. There are also two start-ups: COMADERA, with its MADEPORT proposal for digitalising the timber supply chain, and SHELLOCK, a platform-based tracking service that works as an IoT system for container location.
For Ricardo Barkala, President of the Port Authority, “innovation and sustainability are strategic priorities for this port. The creation of PortLab two years ago was a sound decision in this respect, as can be clearly seen in these six award-winning projects. It also provides us with a new space to open up our port to make it more approachable, more transparent, more accessible”. Barkala highlighted that one of the key factors in this project has been “collaboration with all stakeholders, both within the Port Authority itself and in the port community and our entire ecosystem. Together, we can make this port a driver of multimodality”.
Collaboration with the ecosystem
The new projects being taken forward by the Port Authority itself and companies in the port community were also presented at the meeting. In this respect, special mention must be made of the collaboration initiatives already in place and being developed between PortLab and the ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Basque Country, a good example of which is the project presented by the Port Authority’s environmental area in relation to solid bulk that generates particulate matter emissions and problems in the port environment. An initiative for the submission of proposals to address this challenge was launched on 10 June on the BIOK! platform of BEAZ.
The inclusion of a new activity area known as “scouting” can be highlighted from amongst the many initiatives taken. The idea of scouting is to provide Bilbao PortLab with access to the innovative solutions of the local ecosystem and beyond, to identify the challenges facing the port community, to develop relations with the most relevant players in the ecosystem and to monitor the
existing aid and funding available. In this regard, a database of 175 solutions has been created and over 45 challenges have already been identified in the port community.
In addition to scouting, activities focused on awareness-raising and training must also be highlighted. In this respect, special mention is to made of the outreach work undertaken by BIC Araba, BIC Gipuzkoa and BIC Bizkaia Ezkerraldea, Sodena and Cein. At these events, the Bilbao PortLab initiative has been presented to organisations representing more than 200 innovative solutions.
Significant results have also been achieved in the area of funding. In the last six months, a total of EUR 210,000 in aid has been secured through the ideas approved by Ports 4.0 and the GALATEA programme promoted by the Mobility and Logistics Cluster, with whom the port is working closely and dynamically.
Finally, in the area of services, progress has been made in the Living Lab model and the support provided both to the companies of the port community and to the Port Authority itself in their Open Innovation strategies, supporting projects and facilitating access to innovative solutions that reduce the technological and financial risk of innovation.
The Bilbao PortLab Advisory Committee is made up of members of the Port Authority Executive Committee and representatives of the State Ports Authority, the SPRI Group (Business Development Agency of the Basque Government), the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, BEAZ and Seed Capital Bizkaia (both companies of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia), Uniport Bilbao, the Basque Maritime Forum, the Mobility and Logistics Cluster, Tecnalia, Innobasque, Orkestra and the University of the Basque Country, the University of Deusto and the University of Mondragón.