Where digital transformation sets sail

What lessons can be learned from Europe' s busiest harbour, the Port of Rotterdam?

22 May 2023

The Port of Rotterdam covers an area of about 12 500 hectares, the equivalent of 18 000 soccer fields.

The Port of Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe. From being one of just a few ports that could accommodate large, ocean-going vessels in the 1800s, to investing heavily in container facilities in 1960, it is a vital link in the global supply chain. But in order to innovate further, the port is turning to technology. That’s where Cisco comes in.

“It’s a massive environment that is utilised to transfer goods both from ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore,” says Niels van den Berg, digital business development director for Cisco’s Country Digitisation Acceleration (CDA) programme. The port covers an area of about 12 500 hectares – the equivalent of 18 000 soccer fields. “And twice, it was extended into the sea to grow because it’s very important regionally. The port grew further and further into the sea and it got to a point where they couldn’t grow any further because of cost and the impact on the environment,” he says. “This was when the priorities of the port shifted. They said, ‘If we can’t grow in size, but we want to keep up with volume, we have to become more innovative, change our priorities and look into digital transformation’.”

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