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Wärtsilä sets out to transform port cities around the world

Wednesday saw Wärtsilä debut its plans to transform port cities around the world in one of the biggest initiatives in the 184-year history of the Finnish manufacturer.

An Oceanic Awakening is a global initiative focused on the radical transformation of the world’s marine and energy industry into one efficient, ecologically sound and digitally connected ecosystem.

Better port-to-port fuel efficiency, reduced congestion in ports and high traffic areas, the introduction of real-time communication between stakeholders – these issues, Wärtsilä maintained, have become critical to transforming maritime trading today.

Highlighting and addressing these issues forms the basis of Wärtsilä’s drive to activate a fully-integrated smart ecosystem something that will require collaboration across multiple segments and industry verticals and active involvement in leveraging emerging technologies.

Wärtsilä has created the SEA20 forum where cross-border dialogue and co-creation are fostered through an ongoing series of events and workshops. Among the first cities to support the idea of promoting sustainable marine through comprehensive co-operation are Rotterdam, Hamburg and Helsinki.

At a press conference at SMM in Hamburg yesterday, Marco Ryan, Wärtsilä’s chief digital officer, said the initial aim was to connect 20 of the most influential marine cities by 2020 into a network to drive innovation.

Visions of how port cities might develop were shown at the press conference. They included cutting-edge transport provision along urban coastline, the introduction of marine-centric innovation hubs and the positioning of off-shore smart ports to help alleviate issues around rapid urban growth.

“In the coming years, the world’s largest means of transportation will undergo a radical transformation. New smart technologies will allow vessels and ports to become connected in ways that remain unparalleled in maritime history,” the company stated in a release.

“We simply cannot afford to wait for the marine and energy industries to evolve at their own pace,” said Wärtsilä’s President and CEO Jaakko Eskola. “The calls for greater efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity are simply too strong to be ignored. Rapid acceleration to benefit the entire sector, as well as society at large, is urgently required, and An Oceanic Awakening is our wake-up call to everyone, heralding the beginning of our journey to making the future of shipping and energy a reality.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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