Collaborative project – PORTS Benchmark Platform

European cargo transport and maritime shipping is heavily relying on port infrastructure, particularly quay walls and roads as essential components. Additionally, waterways need to connect the quay walls offering the needed water depth. Ports and their asset management are challenged by increasing throughput, larger ships, aging infrastructure, more complex harbour areas, and rapidly evolving global conditions, including digitalization and stricter regulations.

Even though advances in IT systems offer new opportunities for asset management through technologies like sensors and integrated management systems, mere data collection is not enough for significant improvement. In the past, ports managed their assets based on historical performance with little inter-port cooperation, resulting in inefficiencies and a lack of shared best practices.

To address this, the project PORTS (Performance Optimisation Realised Through Sharing) was initiated by the Port of Gothenburg, Port of Hamburg, North Sea Port and Port of Rotterdam. The project PORTS aims to benchmark different ports and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices in asset management through an online benchmark platform. The participating ports provide yearly data on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as asset condition, maintenance costs, and age distribution for quay walls, roads, and waterways. This data helps identify comparable ports and informs strategies—whether reactive or proactive—along with budget allocations for inspections and common measures.

The platform’s goal is to enhance asset management efficiency. Benefits include continuous benchmarking of costs and condition scores, optimization of life cycle asset costs, and improved performance. Ultimately, the platform encourages asset managers from various ports to collaborate, share experiences, and avoid repetitive mistakes, thus managing assets more effectively and sustainably with limited resources. This collaboration is based on the benchmark platform and involves several meetings of asset managers in working groups on an operational level.