The DataPorts story—a data platform for ports to navigate their future

Categories: Connectivity

Learn how a data platform for ports is driving the economy of the future.

The digitalization of ports is a key factor behind the economic success of regions and will continue to gain importance in the future. Smarter ports ultimately increase productivity and reduce costs. But they rely on a seamless and secure flow of data, which in turn relies on future-proof solutions and reliable partners. The collaborative European DataPorts project, for example, offers a data platform for ports that allows transportation and logistics companies to manage their data and create everything they need for cognitive services. Let’s take a closer look at this success story and find out how this data platform is connecting ports for future success.



You may find the following statistic surprising: only about 5% of global container ports are fully automated. This means that more than 90% are vulnerable to market shocks and their aftermath. Nevertheless, the future of the port industry points towards smarter digital ports, since they can help overcome the relevant challenges and demands, including optimizing port operations, enhancing supply chains, and reducing both emissions and waste. What’s more, maritime port infrastructure is complex. Various agents such as retailers, freight forwarders, carriers, consignees, and port authorities, have an impact on how a port operates. This can create data silos, making it difficult to exploit the real potential of the data.

This need led directly to the idea of a smart solution for a unique environment. More specifically, the DataPorts project, which aims to create a future-proof data platform port solution for the securely connected, collaborative, and cognitive ports of tomorrow. Its main goals were to improve data management, optimize port operations, and enhance the transport chain. Implementing these changes ultimately benefits the port’s entire ecosystem. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what the data platform for ports can provide.



First and foremost, the DataPorts data platform for ports aims to connect ports for collaboration and provide them with a more effective way to monitor port traffic. The goal is to improve the management of loads and cargo, and to minimize transportation and waiting periods on port roads. The platform should also enable better traffic circulation and shorter turn-around times for vehicles in the port, which can help limit emissions and air pollution. Funded by the European Union, the DataPorts data platform solution for ports set out to achieve these exact goals. It brought together various research partners to work on key areas such as the real-time control of operations, streamlined decision-making, accurate prediction of future events and situations, and prescriptive analytics.

T Business is involved in the project via the OTE Group. We not only helped define the system’s technical requirements and specifications but also helped evaluate, distribute, and utilize the platform. More specifically, OTE, the largest technology company in Greece, provides customized technology solutions.

As mentioned, the DataPorts data platform port project is co-funded by the EU through the Horizon 2020 framework with 13 participating partners—from tech companies to research organizations in France, Germany, Israel, Spain, and Greece. The ports of Valencia and Thessaloniki are acting as “pilots” for the project, implementing the data platform in their ports. The latter is one of the largest ports in Southeastern Europe with more than 1.5 million square meters. Due to its strategic location in Northern Greece, the port of Thessaloniki is a key commercial, transport, and logistics hub for the region, providing direct access to Southeastern Europe and a market of over 70 million people.



Ports are the nodes of the global network, providing a key link between sea and land—not to mention the hinterland. Sharing information quickly and accurately across this business network is becoming more critical than ever as demands in the transport industry continue to rise, particularly when it comes to increasing efficiency and lowering costs. The larger and more complex the port, the greater the challenges, which is why the data platform port solution must continue to get smarter and more secure, providing a high level of IT security.

The Thessaloniki Port Authority SA (ThPA), concessionaire and operator of the cognitive port, occupies a total space of 155ha, spread across more than 3.5km. Every year, the port serves about 2,000 vessels, which equates to around 4 million tons of general cargo and 400,000 TEU containers. All the data exchanged and shared supports the port’s operational and decision-making needs.

Among other things, the DataPorts data platform for ports aims to make the port cognitive and collaborative. The system utilizes data from several sources to support all stakeholders in ThPA’s ecosystem. More specifically, it helps them better organize and manage both the pickup and delivery of containers. As an added benefit, it should also help improve the mobility of passengers, professionals, and visitors to the port. This is because the platform correlates mobility data with port-related services, which can help improve the quality of services.



So, what does the DataPorts data platform for ports mean for ports in day-to-day reality? To answer that question, we can take another look at the cognitive, connected, and more collaborative port of Thessaloniki, which reveals a lot of the potential benefits for other ports, including:

  • Helping port authorities react proactively when operating Gate Control Systems.
  • Improving the port supply chain thanks to a seamless flow of data
  • Increasing transparency for all involved parties and stakeholders
  • Improving the interactions of passengers, professionals, and visitors with the port by providing mobility information as a service (e.g. analytics)
  • Improving the services of shipping companies and communities by monitoring and predicting port traffic
  • Reducing the environmental impact of port traffic

This quick overview illustrates just how beneficial and important systems such as the DataPorts data platform port solution are for the digitalization of ports in Europe. Secure systems that function seamlessly are ultimately vital to the economies of entire regions, countries, and the continent.

That’s why, together with the OTE Group, T Business is actively helping ports implement digital platforms and AI/artificial intelligence solutions. In fact, the OTE Group has been the number one IT and digitalization partner for the maritime industry and ports in Southern Europe for more than 15 years. From monitoring to traffic and energy management, ports depend on collecting accurate data and transferring it seamlessly. The success story of the DataPorts data platform for ports demonstrates perfectly how solutions in the T Business portfolio—from big data analytics to secure connectivity and IoT ecosystems—can convert data into tangible benefits.



  1. What Are Automated Container Terminals?Marine Insight.
  2. Leading ports and shipping to the new digital era. OTE Group.
  3. A Data Platform for the Connection of Cognitive Ports. DataPorts Project.
  4. Port of Thessaloniki. DataPorts.
  5. Embracing digital transformation to create the port of the future. Cisco.