Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA)
The Port of Algeciras in the Strait of Gibraltar is the largest port in Spain and the fourth largest in Europe in terms of total cargo handled, managing more than 100 million tonnes per year. Located in a geostrategic position where the major transoceanic routes converge, it is also one of the most innovative ports in southern Europe. The port’s value proposition is based on excellent quality of service at a competitive price. Additionally, the Port of Algeciras has made a firm commitment to digital transformation and innovation with the aim of becoming an efficient green port offering smart , just-in-time services.
Jesús Medina, Chief Information & Innovation Officer at the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras
Telecommunications Engineer and MBA, Jesús Medina is leading the digital transformation journey and promotes an innovative culture in the Port Authority of Algeciras. His main objective is the integration between business, technology, and innovation to improve the competitiveness of the port and its service quality. Among the latest initiatives at the Port of Algeciras, is the recent creation of the Innovation Committee of the Port of Algeciras.
- The recent pandemic highlighted the importance of new technologies supporting innovation and digitalisation, and how that could benefit all sectors. Could you briefly describe how you see the current situation in the ports sector?
Although the end of the pandemic was supposed to bring the longed-for normality and stability to the port sector, the reality has been quite different. The geopolitical situation marked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a profound energy crisis for the European continent and a significant rise in inflation. We should also ahh the incorporation of European ports into the European Commission’s new Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) means the emergence of new rules of the game for international maritime trade. Equally important is the race towards the energy transition of the sector, which is undoubtedly marked by regulatory and technological uncertainty.
All the above is taking place within a framework of growing competitiveness in port logistics, where it is increasingly common to find a similar range of services offered by competitors, following the commonly known “myth of commoditisation”. An example of this growing competitiveness can be found in the recently announced break-up of the 2M alliance between the two main container shipping lines.
In short, we are facing uncertainty and growing competition that may lead to a change in the traditional predominant situations and where logistics chains in general, and ports in particular, must demonstrate their capacity to adapt.
- What are the main challenges facing ports from your perspective?
In my opinion, energy transition and digital transformation are the two major challenges to the ports industry. In order to face them with confidence, I believe that a sea change is required, in terms of mentality and in the role of the port authorities themselves.
Port authorities must evolve from a more traditional role of infrastructure manager and regulator of services to that of coordinator of the port ecosystem with the aim of maximising value creation, or in short being a more efficient port.
The evolution towards this new role must be accompanied by changes in the organisation itself and in the development of the traditional activities of ports. It is not enough for the technology, innovation and sustainability departments to change. These initiatives need to permeate the entire organisation including human resources management, legal services or economic-financial management, among others.
- The Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras monitors and optimises port calls and berths using Posidonia Port CDM. What encouraged you to opt for this tool?
The development of Posidonia Port CDM is a clear example of innovation through public-private collaboration.
The APBA had experience in the practical application of the Port Collaborative Decision Making concept among our Port Community, having developed an initial pilot that we called “Pit Stop” (as a simile to the pit stop concept of Formula 1). After the pilot, we wanted to move forward and develop an application, but we understood that the potential of such a solution is greater when developed as a global market product, applicable to other port ecosystems and not only for the Port of Algeciras.
It is within this context that we were very positively surprised by the strategic vision and innovative mentality of Prodevelop, whom offered to develop its own solution based on the previous experience of the Port of Algeciras.
This led to the opportunity to co-create and use Posidonia Port CDM which we continue to use today and which, without a doubt, we admire and follow with great affection.
- What does using Posidonia Port CDM as a day-to-day management and decision-making tool entail?
Posidonia Port CDM is one of the key tools that help us to meet our strategic objective of offering excellent service quality.
It is the entry point for real-time and predictive information from different agents in the port community, allowing the main actors involved in the port call to have and access to the same coordinated and optimised data, and to make decisions based on this information.
Furthermore, we analyse this information together with operational processes to reduce waiting and idle times of the ships in port.
- Posidonia Port CDM has always been valued as advantageous in terms of obtaining a global vision of the future and current operational situation. What other advantages do you find in working with Posidonia Port CDM?
In addition to real-time and predictive information, analysis of the data provided by Posidonia Port CDM and other complimentary tools, allows us to optimise operational process and improving the efficiency of vessel related activities.
As a result of such analysis, the Port of Algeciras managed to reduce the number of container ships that waited before being able to call at the port by 12%, which in turn resulted in a 10% reduction in emissions from these ships during their journey to port.
- Where do you think the sector is heading and what are the main actions items ports should adopt in order to adapt to the changes that are coming. How do you think a company like Prodevelop fits into this future?
The sector’s firm commitment to digital transformation and innovation is evident. However, the port logistics sector is still largely unknown to the public in general and to technology companies in particular.
In this context, it is difficult to find technological partners such as Prodevelop that bring together, on the one hand, functional knowledge of the port logistics sector and, on the other hand, the technological knowledge necessary to be able to successfully develop longed-for digital transformation.
This business-technology integration undoubtedly allows us to speed up the digital transformation processes of companies in our industry and it is in this scenario where Prodevelop offers a differentiating component.