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The Transition of Croatian Seaports into Smart

M. Jović*, N. Kavran **, S. Aksentijević***, E. Tijan ****
*University of Rijeka/Faculty of Maritime Studies, Rijeka, Croatia
**University of Zagreb/Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia
*** Aksentijević Forensics and Consulting, Ltd., Viškovo, Croatia
****University of Rijeka /Faculty of Maritime Studies, Rijeka, Croatia

Abstract - Currently, the most advanced cargo-related According to Dong Xisong et al., smart ports are based on
business process management seaport model is a “smart the modern electronic information technology, which
port”, in which all parts of the seaport operations and represent a service system for transport in seaports [4]. In
transportation are closely connected through various this way, services such as collecting, processing, issuing,
networks. Different seaports are in different phases of exchanging and analysing the use of information are
system implementation that allows uninterrupted data flow provided to the participants [4]. According to the
and interconnections. For example, some Croatian cargo SMART-PORT research project (Action Plan towards the
seaports can be considered “ports in development”, meaning
smart port concept in the Mediterranean Area), which was
they are currently only trying to simplify business processes.
co-funded by the MED transnational programme of
The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure plays
an important role in the development of Croatian seaports,
European territorial cooperation, several factors affect the
as it has recognized the importance of digitalization and choice of port. These factors can be divided into: port
stakeholder connectivity (shippers, freight forwarders, connectivity regarding the common platform; the level of
maritime agents, etc.), and has taken concrete measures to electronic information exchange and the costs related to
achieve digitalization and connectivity. Initially, it is port operations [5].
necessary to enable system integration and stakeholder Certain Croatian cargo ports are classified as open
connectivity within the seaport, and subsequently connect
ports for international traffic, and they are of significant
the seaports with each other. The first step in the transition
(international) economic interest to the Republic of
of Croatian seaports into smart ports is the development of
both the Port Community Systems and the National Single Croatia. Such ports are ports of Rijeka, Zadar, Šibenik,
Window. Later on, the goal should be to introduce the Split, and Ploče. Since the cargo throughput in the above-
appropriate smart technologies, which should result in mentioned ports is economically significant, various
various benefits e.g., accelerated cargo manipulation. seaport stakeholders are trying to improve their business
performance, to make them more competitive. Different
Keywords – smart ports; smart technologies; technologies are used in smart ports, and the usage of
interconnected platforms; Croatian seaports those technologies depends on different factors and
resources used in port operations, such as infrastructure,
I. INTRODUCTION cargo handling, security, etc. According to Jens, Delenclos
and Rasmussen, many ports have adopted different
Mobility and transport have always played an intelligent port technologies, but leading seaports, such as
important role in economic and social development. With Hamburg, have connected multiple individual systems to a
the increase of cargo volumes, seaport cargo handling single interconnected platform [6]. This type of
procedures need to be performed in quicker and more interconnected platform integrates data from sources such
efficient manner. The seaport is a multidimensional as sensors, mobile devices and databases of different
system combined between economical function, seaport stakeholders.
infrastructure system, geographical space and trade [1].
The smart seaport can be defined as “all parts of the port Not all ports are in the same phase of implementation
terminal operations, warehousing, logistics, yard and port of technological systems that will enable digitalization.
transportation are closely connected through the wireless That is the reason why some steps need to be taken, from
network or special network, providing all kinds of the initial connecting of the stakeholders within the
information for daily production supervision, related seaport to the cooperation between seaports. A smart port
government departments and port shipping enterprises” can ultimately be a fully automated port where all devices
[2]. According to Kamolov and Park, a transition to a are connected by a so-called Internet of Things. However,
smart port, takes a lot of time. To achieve such transition, most seaports have only achieved a certain, partial level of
smart technologies should replace the traditional integration with the business environment. Deloitte Port
technologies, and the processes should be automated [3]. Services claims that if the seaport does follow the market

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trends, but on the other hand it does not have the defined position. Therefore, some port authorities introduce smart
and anticipated strategies, the seaport business will not technologies, although this is not enough if the technology
develop and improve. Becoming a smart seaport means is not adapted to the needs of the port stakeholders
embracing the following: developing solutions to address themselves. There is a need for co-operation of all
the current and future challenges which seaports face, stakeholders: from local businesses to governments.
including spatial constraints, pressure on productivity, According to Deloitte Port Services, Center of Expertise,
fiscal constraints, security risks and sustainability [7]. “port authorities in Europe and North America are
working hard on fully automated container terminals,
II. INTERDEPENDENCE BETWEEN “greenification” of ports and port related economic
STAKEHOLDERS AND DIGITAL-BASED SERVICES activities in the port areas” [8].
Boston Consulting Group claims that a smart port As supply chains become more integrated, hinterland
technology includes a variety of digital services, which operations become more pronounced. Port authorities
consists of built-in sensors, truck pre-order systems, and should focus on improving hinterland connections by
platforms for data exchange [6]. Seaports should base taking the lead in drawing up a joint investment program
their decisions on their role in regional and global trade, as for the necessary infrastructure improvements; adding that
each seaport has its own specific commercial and a port authority can facilitate the application of technology
operational needs. According to Jens, Delenclos and and enable better insight into traffic flows, helping
Rasmussen, the following division of stakeholders based enterprises to further optimize their supply chains and
on the management of smart ports technologies exists [6]: make them more flexible. ''The port authority of the future
is assisting companies through port community systems''
• Infrastructure - port authority, port operators and [8].
terminal operators: smart sensors help them track,
manage, and maintain their physical infrastructure According to Botti, the port is in a continuous process
of evolution that affects the supply chain stakeholders, but
• Cargo handling - port authority, port operators, also the country where the port is located [9].
terminal operators, shipping lines, logistics
companies: solving problems with the increased III. CROATIAN PRACTICES AND INITIATIVES
amounts of cargo
• Intermodal traffic - port authority, port operators, The port development is divided into four stages:
terminal operators, shipping lines, logistic loading and unloading port; industrial ports; logistics /
companies, cargo owners, rail operators, barge supply chain port and smart port [7]. While the first stage
operators: the technology provides improved relates only to loading and unloading operations, the last
organizational system of operations which stage refers to what is increasingly present in developed
includes cargo trucks and trains ports - the digital integration that makes the seaport smart.
• Customs and Collections - customs, terminal Such seaport shifts its business to become a service
operators, port authority, port operators, shipping provider, and focuses to the connection of all stakeholders
lines, cargo owners: cargo handling, payments, who contribute to seaport operations. Therefore, smart
trade licenses, import and export permits, and ports represent the last development stage where the
customs clearances are performed in an easier digitalization of port activities is at the forefront and
way where new services replace traditional practices.

• Safety and Security- port authority, port operators, Logistics companies require easy access to
terminal operators, shipping lines, logistic information and port data transparency, and such
companies, rail operators, barge operators: they technology allows freedom of data exchange among
alert the staff if an unauthorized incursion is different smart devices. The data are collected and
detected, and some ports put additional protection analysed to facilitate the exchange of information.
systems through which they are reporting, such as Seaports have a wide variety of smart-port
network connected biometric scanners technologies to choose from, but the key strategic issues
they face should guide the selection process (e.g., an
• Energy and environment - port authority, port
individual port’s needs can be driven by its location, role
operators, terminal operators, shipping lines,
in trade, or level of competition) [6]. In this respect,
logistic companies, rail operators, barge operators:
seaports can be divided into four categories [6]: emerging
help the ports work sustainably
ports, local trade hubs, intermodal ports and city-based
In the time of globalization, when the borders between ports (Table 1). Croatian cargo ports cannot be strictly
countries have disappeared, and the volume of cargo and categorized, and should focus on numerous aspects of the
dimensions of ships has increased, the port authorities aforementioned seaport categories. Their main objective
have increasingly started to face a different set of should be to simplify the business processes. Furthermore,
challenges. Competition between seaports is becoming they should also aim to optimize traffic across transport
more intense, and only those that successfully respond to modes (intermodal gateway) and to minimize impact on
such challenges succeed in maintaining their competitive surroundings (city-based port).

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of the PCS system must be applied in all Port authorities
STRATEGY in the port areas, with necessary adaptations [12]. This is
the main objective of the project “Design and
Type Focus Applicable solutions implementation of a Port Community System”, with the
Emerging port Ease of doing -Port Community System aim of providing PCS ICT solutions in ports of Rijeka and
business -Single Window Ploče, based on the existing solution in port of Ploče, as
-X-ray scanning well as their integration into the National Single Window,
-Biometric access control
CIMIS system, e-Customs and the existing parts of other
Local trade hub High -Smart cargo-handling individual application systems currently being used.
productivity systems
Anticipated PCS ICT solutions will enable the
-Equipment management and
control optimization of business processes and timely and reliable
-Gate automation data exchange, as well as simplified and accelerated
-Safety management solutions logistics processes among all users/stakeholders.
Intermodal Optimized -Truck appointment systems
gateway traffic across -Traffic-monitoring systems The PCS will be initially implemented in the ports of
transport -Integrated rail and barge Rijeka and Ploče, after which other Croatian ports of
modes platforms international importance (Zadar, Split, Šibenik and
City-based port Minimized -Asset health monitoring Dubrovnik) will be included, with necessary system
impact on -Environment and energy adaptation.
surroundings -Management systems
-Port-wide platforms
The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure CROATIAN SEAPORTS
has recognized the importance and advantages of Smart systems based on ICT technology and
digitalization and stakeholder connectivity (such as integrated logistics systems for information exchange
forwarders, maritime agents etc.), in maritime transport. between maritime, urban and road systems enable
These advantages are the business facilitation, the improved port operations. By adopting modern ICT
reducing of administrative mistakes and impediments. solutions, there is a reduction in costs, and in the long run,
Within this, three projects have been developed that there will be a return on funds that were initially invested
will solve the administrative problems faced by in the new ICT infrastructure [9].
stakeholders in the logistics chain of freight transport, According to Heilig and Voß, “Information systems
thereby facilitating data control. The first project refers to have become indispensable to the competitiveness of
the establishment of a National Single Window, an ports, facilitating communication and decision making for
information platform for data exchange and processing enhancing the visibility, efficiency, reliability, and
through the cooperation of the Ministry of the Sea, security in port operations under various conditions” [13].
Transport and Infrastructure, the Customs Administration Providing value-added information services and analytics
of the Ministry of Finance, the Port Authority of Rijeka is increasingly important to maintain a competitive edge
and the Port Authority of Ploče [10]. Besides that, a new and to meet regulatory requirements.
service CIMISNet will significantly improve data
exchange, reduce administrative procedures among Shanghai International Port (Group) Co., Ltd. and
Ministries, all Port authorities, Ministry of the Interior, the Accenture have conducted the research in the area of
Customs administration, Coastal Shipping Agency, smart ports (Figure 1) [14]. They have also emphasized
Croatian Bureau of Statistics etc. Security in cross-border
traffic will also be improved in accordance with Schengen
rules [10].
According to Duvallet, Sadeg and Belfkih, many
challenges in the smart port development exist, which are
also present in Croatian cargo ports: “heterogeneous
technologies: the large equipment list and standards used
in the port, produce and exchange a large amount of data;
large variety of data types: a large amount of data (AIS
data, logistic data, etc.) is used in the port” [11].
In the port of Ploče, the integration of PCS system
with other systems (TOS, CIMIS, etc.) is already present.
The goal is to develop a port logistics center and enable
the automated data exchange based on the concept of
Single Window [12]. Data exchange using CIMIS system
(Croatian Integrated Maritime Information System) has
already been tested and it is now necessary to define the
data exchange structure that will be standard to all PCS Figure 1: Openness and innovation to achieve interconnection in the
systems regardless of the port where they are used; the use value chain of ocean cargo

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the importance of connected technologies among seaports, The as-is situation refers to “a number of manual
ships, container trucks, connected workers etc. steps, such as stopping the truck, delivering the hard copy
of documents to the gate officer, and waiting for the pass
According to their research, “The most direct and before restarting the truck” [18].
effective way for traditional industries to embrace
innovation is by introducing innovative forces; The trend After applying RFID technology, “the activities are
is toward a port ecosystem that is open, interactive, highly almost totally automated, since, when the truck
connected, data driven and smart and collaborations approaches the access gate, the RFID allows registering
between ports, governments and research institutions are and controlling the container, thus allowing opening the
essential” [14]. gate” [18].
The advantages of smart technologies are also Port of Rijeka represents an intermodal port, and a
emphasized in the port of Rotterdam: at the same time, it multi-purpose port as well, where the port activities are
is possible to gain insight into the business of all performed at several locations and terminals. The port of
stakeholders and make the process more efficient. Rijeka has many advantages such as the geographical
“Digitally optimized berthing can improve safety as well position, the depth of the sea, the resources, and therefore
as efficiency. The guidance can reduce wait times, enable has become the maritime transit centre of Croatia. In
faster loading and unloading, and allow ships to come and addition to these characteristics, a major role in the
go more quickly—and shaving an hour from the berthing success of the port is played by its traffic connections with
process can save ship operators USD 80,000” [15]. The the rest of the country as well as the surrounding
case study of the Hamburg smart port “has proven that countries. According to Abbes, seaports benefit from their
given the right approach, investing in IoT will yield strategic positions, but it is necessary to ensure adequate
results”, and the stakeholders associated with logistic capacities to meet the potential demand [19]. As a port is
services have already noticed a reduction in time spent in more connected to international maritime routes, it will
the port for increased operational efficiency [16]. attract more global operators. Therefore, the port of Rijeka
Therefore, the impact of Internet of Things technology in could be a competitive and a key connection if
ports as well as development of smart applications will digitalization is increased.
improve port operations. At last, positive effects on
business processes will be visible throughout the entire Port of Ploče is also a port of special significance for
supply chain [17]. Croatia. Recently, new investments have been made in a
new container terminal, bulk cargo terminal, and port
Several already existing and worldwide adopted smart information system. Port of Ploče has recognized the
technologies can be applied to Croatian ports such as advantages that this investment could bring: “the increase
smart cargo handling equipment, which reduces operating in port traffic, economic multiplier effects on the local
costs by up to 10 percent and minimizes idle and community and the narrow gravity area of the port of
unnecessary energy use [6]. In addition to the economic Ploče, with the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina will
and security component, it is important to emphasize the have positive economic effects by increasing the
ecological business aspect in smart ports. A motion- competitiveness of their goods due to modern
sensitive terminal lighting system is one of the smart transhipment facilities in port of Ploče, as well as reduced
technologies. It illuminates only when vehicles are nearby transport costs for their goods due to new capacity in port
– the port of Valencia reduces energy consumption by 80 of Ploče” [20].
percent [6]. Port of Hamburg uses similar smart
illumination at the port roads. V. CONCLUSION
Table 2 shows the advantages of using smart Smart technology solutions enable ports to become
technologies in seaports by comparing two situations: as- smarter in terms of information flow. Operations such as
is (current state) and to-be (future situation). tracking, and data collection are used to make the best
decisions and improve business processes. Currently,
attention is directed at data providing services, rather than,
TABLE 2: DURATION OF THE CONSIDERED ACTIVITIES for example, hauling operations. Therefore, smart ports
are the stage in which the digitalization of port activities is
at the forefront and where new services replace or increase
Activity Duration Duration Smart
traditional port services. Shareholder cooperation also
(as-is) after using ICT plays a very important role in achieving sustainable
(min) smart ICT used business as well. There are numerous ports that turn to
(to-be) (min) sustainable business procedures, bringing together smart
Truck 15 0,5 RFID One of the main objectives of Croatian cargo seaports
check-out should be to simplify the business processes as well as to
optimize traffic across transport modes (intermodal
Locate 15 1 WSN gateway) and to minimize impact on surroundings. The
container Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure has also
recognized the importance and advantages of
digitalization and stakeholder connectivity: the business

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