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Portuguese ports are world pioneers in technological innovation

Portugal has, since September, some of the most technologically innovative ports in the world. The Ports of Leixões and Viana do Castelo, managed by the Port Authorities of Leixões and Viana do Castelo (APDL), are the pilot of an innovation initiative led by the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), together with TRIEDE TTI. The tool 3Port makes it possible to manage the different needs and business processes of port authorities in an integrated fashion, while interacting with the general public, which can see what is happening in the port in real time (

The 3Port is based on eight modules, seven of which are used by the port – hydrography (dredging and navigable areas), port traffic, domain (licenses and concessions), studies and construction work, prevention and security, environment, and registration and assets –, and one is used by the public. Most of these modules have been introduced for the first time in the process management of the Ports of Leixões and Viana do Castelo.

The goal is for this tool to become essential to the technical services of ports so that processes are adequately managed and supported. Other than this innovation, which adds value to the ports and their activities, the strategic areas are interconnected, and structured data are provided and shared in a georeferenced context.

The 3Port is advantageous and promotes a sustainable growth because it supports decision-making and gains in efficiency, while reducing operational costs.

“Another advantage is that the solution adapts itself to the port’s processes and not the other way around. Moreover, the solution is interoperable, which means that it does not replicate information, but rather accesses the location of the information, interacting, in an integrated fashion, with the remaining tools in the port’s ecosystem,” explains Lino Oliveira, the INESC TEC researcher responsible for the project, which took two years to develop.

Based on open source web technologies, the 3Port homogenously integrates both the internal systems in the port and the public information systems.

This technology transfer triangle composed of INESC TEC (producer of the innovation), TRIEDE TTI (producer of the solution) and APDL (user of the solution and the one identifying the requirements) makes these ports some of the most innovative worldwide in terms of R&D.

According to the researcher, Leixões – which recently won third place in the category “Best Port of the Year” for its investment in the cruise and tourism sector, second only to the Ports of San Francisco (USA) and Amsterdam (Netherlands) – was once again the pilot and an example of innovation. Discussions for other ports in Portugal to use this solution are already underway, but the solution is expected to be exported to countries such as Brazil, Angola and Peru.

“We have already presented the 3Port in four Brazilian states, as well as in Luanda (Angola), Valparaíso (Chile) and Callao (Peru), and the international feedback has been tremendous. In Brazil, for instance, we were told that they did not know any solution remotely similar to ours. Besides these four countries, we want to export our solutions to the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) and to Latin America”, states Mauro Ferreira, the person in charge of the project at TRIEDE TTI.

The public component of the 3 Port is called Live Map and can be used on computers, tablets and smartphones, as the system adapts to any browser in any mobile device. For that, it is not necessary to download any application.

Porto, 23 September 2015

Joana Desport Coelho

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