Six ideas, supported by Bilbao PortLab, will be funded in this first call for proposals launched by the State Ports Authority
Bilbao Portlab, the initiative taken by the Port Authority to position the Port of Bilbao in an innovation ecosystem, has supported and/or enabled 6 of the 33 business ideas approved in the first call for proposals for public subsidy from the Ports 4.0 Fund promoted by the State Ports Authority.
A total of one hundred initiatives were studied and assessed by the Technical Committee, of which 13 were finally endorsed by the Port of Bilbao’s innovation hub, which works to ensure that the challenges facing the port community can be addressed and solved by innovative companies, start-ups, SMEs or large companies with innovative technologies and business models.
For the President of the Port Authority of Bilbao, Ricardo Barkala, “these results highlight the dynamism of the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in the Basque Country, and encourage us to continue working with the port’s companies to identify environmental, energy and digital challenges, and to provide technologically advanced solutions”.
For her part, the coordinator of Bilbao PortLab, Nagore Ardanza, made the point that “innovation is a risky activity, and the main risk associated with it is not doing it. Therefore, at Bilbao PortLab, we encourage the companies of the port community to work together with innovative companies, to attract innovative solutions and to act as a test bed where port companies can see different technologies, their functionality and their applicability in action in their processes, products and services. The Ports 4.0 Fund has given a boost to six innovative ideas, but it doesn’t stop there. There is more aid, more support and more business opportunities to come”.
Six ideas behind six innovation projects
The ideas approved in this first Ports 4.0 call for proposals come from a variety of organisations, ranging from the Research Centre CEIT, with its PORTPOS project to develop a system to make intra-port traffic more efficient, to SERIKAT, a technology company, which submitted CONFIADOC, a BlockChain platform for the interoperability of documentation between Agents, Port Authorities, Maritime Authorities and other public organisations. There are also two SME’s: 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, which will develop the SUPRASHORE project, a superconductor technology for a ship-to-port power connection and to deploy a power cable that can transport hydrogen gas. Finally, there are two start-ups: COMADERA, which will develop 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.
The Ports 4.0 Fund
The first call for proposals of the Ports 4.0. Fund was launched for a total amount of EUR 12 million, provided by the 28 Port Authorities – including Bilbao – by means of a contribution equivalent to 1% of their cash flow. The manager of the 4.0. Fund is the State Ports Authority (Puertos del Estado). The call has three categories: ideas, commercial and pre-commercial. In the first meeting, the ideas were analysed and approved, and the 33 selected will receive grants totalling EUR 500,000.
During the month of May, the Committee will hold a new meeting to analyse and assess the 66 projects admitted in the commercial category, and will then move on to the 156 projects submitted in the pre-commercial category.
Though the Port 4.0 Funds initiative has played a key role in the development of Bilbao PortLab, it is by no means the only factor involved. The most cutting-edge projects aligned to the needs of the Port of Bilbao, despite not having access to these funds, are supported and advised by Bilbao PortLab on all kinds of issues, including other funding opportunities.
Bilbao PortLab has become a member of the Port and Bilbao River Foundation, which has set up a working team to promote and coordinate this space. The advisory board is made up of representatives of the State Ports Authority, the SPRI group (Business Development Agency of the Basque Government), Seed Capital Bizkaia and Beaz (both companies of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia), Tecnalia, UniportBilbao, University of the Basque Country – Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV-EHU), University of Deusto, University of Mondragon, MLC, Innobasque; ORKESTRA Basque Institute of Competitiveness, Basque Maritime Forum and the Port Authority of Bilbao itself.
Companies can submit their enquiries and innovation projects by email at: email@example.com