COOCK Smart Port 2025

2 years, 7 months ago

Smart, that is what the professors and researchers at the University of Antwerp and Imec are all about. For years they have been conducting research into Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the endless possibilities of this technology.

This valuable knowledge is now ready to be applied. In the next three years, we will be organising a series of activities to transfer this knowledge to companies and port organisations, to turn this into concrete projects and perhaps apply for subsidies or get started right away.

And as a company or port organisation, you are central. Together with you, we want to see how technology such as AI can be a solution for the opportunities and challenges you see. To do this, we offer a series of interactive and co-creative activities.

COOCK Smart Ports 2025 is a project financed by VLAIO that aims to transfer knowledge and implement it in companies via pilot projects.

Find the published whitepapers as part of this project here.

Session 1 - Predictability & Transparency in the Supply Chain

In this first window of the COOCK Smart Port 2025 project, we tackled the issue of predictability and transparency in the supply chain. Two leading companies - Ahlers and Port+ - provided the audience a testimonial about the smart use of data in the Inspiration Session. In the subsequent Co-Creation session, experts from the research partners Imec and UA, tech companies and maritime and logistics professional engaged in a lively session to further flesh out the challenges of Ahlers and Port+, and to detect new opportunities for the use of Artificial Intelligence.

Download the full report of the Co-Creation session by clicking on the image


Session 2 - Sustainability

The European objective to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050, with steep ambitions in 2030, means that our society will need to move fast. This also applies to our ports, with their energy-intensive industry and transport.

This requires various measures:

  • Energy efficient processes and buildings
  • The reuse of residual heat
  • Additional onshore and offshore wind and solar energy
  • Cost-efficient production of green hydrogen
  • Capture, storage or reuse of CO2
  • Distributed energy storage systems using batteries and heat
  • ...

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can boost all of these solutions. The broad theme of sustainability is one of the three pillars of the COOCK Smart Port 2025 project.

In this Inspiration Session, three experts discussed the benefits of AI and the smart use of data, to support sustainable strategies.

  • Dr. Matthias Strobbe (IDLab Ghent) shared use cases in which AI is applied to identify flexibility in industrial processes, to charge electrical cars in a smart way, and to detect anomalies in wind turbines and solar parks.
  • Evelyn Heylen (Centrica) explained how her company uses AI to optimally control its portfolio of assets.
  • Bart Huybrechts (CMB) provided insights on the sustainability strategy of the Belgian maritime group, and how they use data to support it.

Session 3 - Brabo Innovation Challenge

The COOCK Smart Port 2025 is not only about disseminating academical knowledge, but also to broker digital solutions to real challenges in the port community. Mr. Herman Van Driessche, CEO of Brabo, described the challenges his company is facing. Planning and dispatching of mooring crew is currently done in a manual way, which doesn't always lead to the most optimal solution. Brabo is therefore looking to start a comprehensive digitization project in 2022, to use digital technology to schedule, dispatch and manage the mooring crew. At this pitching session, Mr. Van Driessche engaged in a lively discussion with 40 tech companies, who asked him questions about the legacy data sources and processes, the technical and practical aspects of mooring, and the project management details.

The COOCK Smart Port 2025 consortium will consolidate all information and engage in a process with Brabo, with the objective to return to the tech companies in 2022 with a concrete proposal.

Project Management


COOCK Smart Port 2025 is managed by IDLab Antwerp, which is part of the project consortium. Bart Braem, Business Development Lead at IDLab Antwerp, is the focal point for this project.

Are you interested in learning more about the project, or do you want to know how AI and the smart use of data can benefit your company? Make an appointment for a quick chat with Bart through this link.

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