Digitalization of Ports´ Environmental Management Tools

With insights from two expert interviews and an online questionnaire, the prevalence of environmental management tools’ usage in some ports of Finland and Russia is discussed. As more and more detailed data is available about the port area through automated real-time measuring devices, environmental management software can produce helpful and easy-to-read predictions, reports and analyses about the port operations. With the help of these analyses, ports can change their operations into a more sustainable direction and at the same time achieve better cost-efficiency. The digitalization process requires expertise and a lot of collaboration between the ports’ many stakeholders, which might slow  down  this  development.  However,  there  are  already  many  examples  of  ports  that  use  digital environmental management tools in the Baltic Sea.

Certified environmental management systems that offer guidelines for good environmental practices are already well adopted in the Baltic Sea’s ports but improving the environmental performance beyond current regulations and legislation is needed. Clearly the biggest producers of emissions in a port are the ships at berth and waiting access to the harbor. Thus, the biggest positive impact on the environment that a port can do is to begin using the Just-In-Time arrival method which enables incoming ships to optimize their speed and route.

This requires connecting the ships’ and ports’ information management systems for improved communication. This development emphasizes the importance of good communication and streamlined exchange of information, which is why digital information management systems will prove to be even more useful in mitigating and tackling the effects of the global pollution disaster. As more digital tools are being used in ports, their interconnectivity might pose a challenge. Careful planning of the overall IT-infrastructure is preferred to be done in collaboration with other ports and ports’ stakeholders. This will also help the sharing of data in the future. During this phased implementation of digitalization, it is recommended to install automated real-time data measuring devices to fully grasp the benefits of digital environmental management tools. Although social acceptance was found to still be the biggest hindrance in digitalization, it is likely to be overcome with the incentivizing economic benefits that accompany the adoption of these tools.
You can find the publication here:

Digitalization of Ports´ Environmental Management Tools, Saari, Joona 2020