What do we mean by a Smart Port?

Today’s global port and terminal network faces a multitude of challenges; from the ongoing pressure to reduce running costs, to ensuring appropriate security measures; from facing the pressure to ‘go green’ and mitigating against climate change, to utilising the immense amount of data they generate daily. 

In answer to these challenges, Smart Ports combine digital innovation and tools with operator intelligence; enabling ports to work more efficiently and streamline operational costs.

Whether that’s increasing the longevity of operations by using sensors to forecast maintenance requirements or finding new ways to optimise the use of their land, there are many ways in which new technologies can help ports to become smarter. 




What solutions do we offer?

Our Smart Ports offering at Royal HaskoningDHV covers all bases. We provide digital port solutions consultancy for new and existing ports and shipyards in three distinct areas. Firstly, through our smart design – we’ve developed the use of parametric design and adopt BIM on all our projects to provide even greater efficiencies for our clients.

We also provide smart asset management, incorporating numerous approaches such as above and below water 3D surveys and the use of sensors to monitor operations and optimise a port’s maintenance regime. And finally, we are adopting the use of technology including ‘big data’ and digital twins to gain insight and optimise port operations. 







Our experience

We are world leaders in maritime development projects and Royal HaskoningDHV is home to one of the largest groups of maritime engineers in the world. Our unrivalled 135 years of experience means that we understand the drivers of port and terminal operators. 

Bringing together our expertise from across Royal HaskoningDHV, whether that’s our experts in climate change, flood risk management, energy or environment, we apply technology, connect minds across our global offices, consult with our specialist partners and work with our clients to develop smart solutions together. 

You can read more about our projects here.




Smart Design 

All of our projects are designed using BIM as standard and we also proud to be developing a series of parametric design approaches to enhance our design tools and streamline our design process.

We always design ports to our customers’ needs and by using digital tools, we can combine digital ways of working with technology such as mixed and augmented reality to help our clients’ ports work even smarter. Find out more about how we’re integrating Smart Design in the creation of Smart Ports.


Smart Asset Management 

At Royal HaskoningDHV we know that assets such as gates, quay walls and lay down areas are of vital importance to port operators. We digitally capture a port’s infrastructure by providing an intelligent 3D model either of specific assets or the entire port, which is then further analysed by our experienced engineers to review asset performance and potential optimisation. 

From using drones to monitor RTG cranes, to utilising sensors to measure stress and strain to monitor operational performance on a dock gate, we understand how to manage your assets so that you can optimise their use and maintenance. Find out more about our Smart Asset Management offer and how we could help you make your port smarter. 

Smart Port & Terminal Operations 

Our Smart Port and Terminal Operations offer covers multiple areas of improving port efficiency; from the transition to green energy and energy storage, to port security and optimising port operations. 

We use data collected from your port to provide digital, data-driven services, tailored to you. We can offer port simulation and automation to identify the best ways to create greater efficiencies in the way a port operates. Find out more about our Smart Port and Terminal Operations offer and how we can streamline port logistics. 

Let’s explore together how we can help you find smart solutions for your port

Nicola Clay
Director Smart Ports

Jamie Gray
Head of Smart Asset Management


A selection of our projects

Our blogs

Smart Ports – The Future for the Shipping Industry

Transport 8 May 2018

Ports are now applying technologies never used in the maritime industry before. Predictive maintenance, 3D modelling and digital data collection mean that can perform digital simulations and scenario testing, saving time and money and aiding decision making.

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Dock and lock gate | Royal HaskoningDHV

The need for speed: creating fast opening, large dry dock gates

Transport 11 Jan 2018

The increase in ship size for global freight makes perfect economic sense but the infrastructure that supports this rise needs to keep pace for shipyards to remain efficient and responsive.

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Improving energy efficiency for port operators under pressure

Industrial 6 Oct 2017

Many port operators are seeing a shift in their energy systems from the use of fossil fuels to renewable sources. The impact of this energy transition could be huge unless we identify specific areas where efficiencies could be seen. One such area is the use of Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) cranes, where Royal HaskoningDHV has been involved in an innovative pilot project.

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Ship Harmony of the Seas in Rotterdam | Royal HaskoningDHV

Cold Ironing: The route to cleaner cruise liners?

Transport 28 Jun 2017

Reducing emissions is a critical factor in the success of ports around the globe. And Cold Ironing – the connection of ships to the local power grid while berthed in port – is just one solution that could help make ports more environmentally friendly.

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