Port of Barcelona President Damià Calvet welcomed more than 4,000 viewers on 15 November to launch the three-day event. Taking place on 15, 16, and 17 November, hosted by renowned TV journalist Ainhoa Arbizu, discussions broached key topics with a focus on fostering global partnerships.

The Port of Barcelona partnered with six global port leaders as part of the event: Antwerp-Bruges; Busan; Hamburg; Los Angeles; Montreal; and Rotterdam. The event also welcomed guest ports: Gothenburg, Ashdod, and Vancouver, to present their experiences on digital transformation and innovation. The Port of Gothenburg also joined the Smart Ports alliance, starting as a new member at the next edition.

A continuous theme throughout the event highlighted how port-city collaboration was crucial to answer key questions on the energy transition, creating a sustainable Blue Economy for the future, and digitalising processes to improve operations and reduce the sector’s carbon footprint.

The Blue Economy, embracing the utilisation of marine resources for the collective maritime industry, was a panel session on how to create a sustainable future through economic advancement, protecting vast ocean ecosystems, and building a skilled, diverse and multitalented workforce.

Smart Ports: Piers of the Future 2022 focused on five essential attributes:






On 15 November, viewers were treated to five TV set panel discussions on: meeting supply chain challenges; cargo visibility; cyber security; the America’s Cup 24; Blue Acceleration; and the Sustainable SmartPort City.

The first day of the event also showcased Project Spotlight and Digital Playbook case studies from industry leaders such as the Port of Tanger Med, Shanghai Port, and the Greater Houston Port Bureau.

On 16 and 17 November, the Smart Ports: Piers of the Future event took its talents to the Smart Cities Expo World Congress.

The main managers of the member ports of Smart Ports present at the opening day.

Smart Cities Expo World Congress, hosted at the Fira de Barcelona – Gran Via Venue, is one of the world’s largest smart cities event.

Partnering with Smart Ports: Piers of the Future, the two events emphasised the importance of evolving port-city relationships as port entities digitalise.

Damià Calvet, President, Port of Barcelona, said: “We were born in the Smart City and it is important for us to collaborate with what is the most successful smart city congress in the world and a unique meeting point for the entire ecosystem involved in the transformation of cities. I would like to welcome the people in charge of the ports which, together with Barcelona, are part of the Smart Ports initiative: Antwerp-Bruges, Busan, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Montreal and Rotterdam. We all share the same goal of promoting sustainable, open and collaborative innovation in the field of ports and maritime transport.

“Ports must work together to keep moving forward and build a better world. It is our responsibility to incorporate innovation and new technologies to become more efficient, more sustainable and more competitive. At the Port of Barcelona, we firmly believe in cooperation and exchanging valuable information with other ports and with the logistics and transport industry to move forward together towards achieving the great milestones we have set for ourselves.”

Jens Meier, CEO Hamburg Port Authority, said: “Smart Ports Barcelona is not only the valuable and inspiring content offered by a variety of speakers, but also the trusting cooperation. Therefore, the Hamburg Port Authority together with chainPORT members has been a partner of this event since its foundation.

“This year's Smart Ports discussed in depth the key issues that will need to be addressed by Port Authorities jointly and in partnership with other stakeholders in the coming years. Ports are in a transition phase in several areas, forcing the supply chain to become more resilient and turning ports into green energy hubs as part of their business.

“I would also like to highlight the application of digitalisation not only to improve the resilience of ports and reduce emissions, but also to increase the attractiveness of the port as a place to work. We also brought up what is forthcoming in terms of cyber security.“

Piet Opstaele, Head of Innovation, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, said: “The strong network of global oriented smart ports is evolving to a next phase. Driven by the transition of ports to primary and sustainable energy hubs and by a much closer cooperation on implementing innovative solutions on f.I. drones, smart shipping and cyber resilience.

“Port of Antwerp-Bruges is execution its strategy on building new production and supply chain streams of green molecules in close cooperation with several other ports. The Smart Ports conference proved that eight major ports are taking a pioneering role in making the transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy a reality.

“The symbiosis with its related smart city brings innovative solutions on steam networks, new forms of mobility (small autonomous ships and drones) or circular economy (waste recycling) to a societal and economic relevant scale."

Martin Imbleau, CEO, President & Chief Executive Officer, Port of Montreal, said: “The organisation of Smart Ports: Piers of the Future has been fantastic. This event has been about sharing best practices and common practices.

“Through the event the common theme was of the urgency to work on decarbonising the supply chain. We are all work on our own decarbonisation initiative from a different angle, but we have heard that it is a top priority of the top management of all chainPORT and smart port entities. It is reassuring to hear that we are working on different initiatives which are all complementary.”

Port of Los Angeles Deputy Executive Director Mike DiBernardo said: “As an industry, we continue to face many new challenges. Yet we have demonstrated tremendous leadership in the area of sustainability that we can all be very proud of.”

“At Smart Ports, we have the ability to communicate with each other quickly and effectively, exchange new ideas, and together provide a sizeable market opportunity for original equipment manufacturers that are equally focused on advancing a variety of measures to decarbonise the maritime shipping industry over the coming decades.”