As the maritime industry faces pressure to decarbonise operations, ports around the world are exploring innovative ways to improve efficiency and reduce emissions through enhanced collaboration and data sharing. A critical strategy is optimising port operations to minimise wasted time and fuel. Emerging “green corridor” schemes between major port pairs exemplify this approach.
Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) provides a leading example with its digitalPORT@SGTM initiative. This digitalisation project aims to revolutionise port operations through phased enhancements. Early successes include Singapore’s single window for streamlined regulatory reporting and the Singapore Maritime Data Hub for secure data exchange.
MPA Chief Information Officer Koh Chin Yong explained how these foundations enabled the next phase – a Just-In-Time Planning and Coordination platform launching in 2023. Orchestrating ship schedules and port resources will facilitate optimised arrival and departure timing to reduce waiting and turnaround times. Koh noted that such efficiency gains directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Beyond internal improvements, MPA is collaborating internationally to establish green corridors. Joint efforts include an MOU with the Port of Rotterdam for the world’s longest green corridor and recent MOUs with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These partnerships highlight the power of coordinating across ports to unlock mutual benefits.
Saskia Mureau, Director of Customer Digital at Port of Rotterdam, provided additional perspective. She sees digitalisation and sustainability merging as ports leverage technology for efficiency and emissions reductions. Collaborative initiatives like the Green Corridor with Singapore focus on just-in-time sailing, paperless trade, and customs harmonisation. Mureau identified document, cargo, and trade finance flows as three priority areas for digital progress. Solutions must simplify processes and avoid unnecessary burdens. She strongly advocated for increased data sharing across port stakeholders as fundamental to decarbonisation. Mureau told Thetius that optimising port visits could yield €400 million in savings for Rotterdam port users alone, magnified across supply chains.
Both ports are actively establishing standards to enable greater interoperability and data exchanges. For Singapore, this means digitalisation frameworks like digitalOCEANS for maritime data standardisation. Rotterdam is working closely with the Digital Container Shipping Association on electronic bill of lading standards.
Beyond facilitating technology, green corridor partnerships create regulatory sandboxes to pilot new approaches. They catalyse private-sector collaboration to identify use cases for operational improvements. Importantly, they incentivise participants to achieve mutual benefits through win-win emissions reductions. While alternative fuels remain critical for full decarbonisation, optimisations can unlock significant near-term progress. As Mureau summarised, digital solutions could reduce maritime emissions by 15% or more. Port optimisations also future-proof operations for new vessel designs, fuels, and technologies.
Green corridors demonstrate the power of cooperation, not just competition. Ports must balance their own interests with shared sustainability incentives. As Koh concluded, accelerating maritime digitalisation and decarbonisation requires aligning stakeholders to solve challenges. Port partnerships provide a collaborative roadmap toward competitive, clean shipping.
For a more in depth understanding of the topics covered in this article, refer to our latest report titled ‘Common Interests; How the maritime industry can share data, collaborate with trust, and build a mutually beneficial digital ecosystem.’ This comprehensive guide benchmarks shipping’s progress on using digital solutions to collaborate on decarbonisation goals and shows how industry frontrunners are breaking down the technical, legal, financial and cultural barriers.