bremenports organises start-up competition for students and young entrepreneurs
How can inland shipping benefit from digitisation and consequently become more competitive? bremenports is planning to take part in a project sponsored by the European Union to address this question. Over the next three years, the project entitled #IWTS 2.0 will promote the development of innovative solutions for handling barge cargoes. A further aim of the project is to strengthen the role of inland shipping in the curricula of vocational training institutions in order to turn students and young entrepreneurs into ambassadors of inland shipping.
The core element of the project is an innovation lab, i.e. a platform which will enable students and young entrepreneurs to develop digital tools for the inland shipping sector. The ideas can range from simulation, planning and monitoring instruments, data analytics and controlling applications to smart information systems.
#IWTS 2.0 reflects the increasing number of start-ups in the IT business. “This platform is an ideal way of addressing the challenges facing the inland shipping business using the digital approach of the student generation,” comments Robert Howe, Managing Director of bremenports. The platform design corresponds to the role played by bremenports as infrastructure manager of the ports of Bremen. “We do not merely provide the physical port infrastructure, but also enable maritime logistics in the digital sense.”
Barges currently account for only 4% of hinterland transport to and from the ports. “The mid-term objective has to be to raise that share,” says Howe. Upgrading the Middle Weser, which links Bremen with the German canal network, could help to promote that increase.
The project will be conducted as a two-stage competition. After an introductory phase, the participants will have six months in which to come up with ideas and submit prototypes. bremenports will provide mentoring support. The competition will conclude with an award ceremony at which the prizes will be presented to the winners in three categories: the Innovation Award, the Student Award and the Industry Award.
The INTERREG project was initiated by Flemish and Dutch partners. The principal partner is Harlingen Maritime Academy, a leading provider of vocational education and training for the shipping industry. Other partners come from the United Kingdom and Sweden. What they all have in common is their location alongside a waterway network that is available for sustainable logistics. INTERREG is the name of a series of programmes for the promotion of cooperation between regions in the European Union, financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The first INTERREG project began in 1989.