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OpenGov speaks to Dr Sebastian Saxe, CDO, CIO, Hamburg Port Authority

OpenGov spoke to Dr. Sebastian Saxe about the developments in Smart Port Logistics and service virtualisation at Hamburg Port Authority.

Dr Sebastian Saxe is the Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer for Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). He has been a Member of the Management Board, CIO and Services Director for HPA since January 2009. He is responsible for the Central Purchasing, Personnel and IT business units as well as for the supporting administrative functions. As CIO, Dr Saxe is responsible for further development of the IT environment of the HPA.

The Hamburg Port Authority is a leader in smart port technology and innovation. They have integrated some of the most advanced technological solutions into their port in order to make for more efficient operations and to increase business. The future looks bright for the Hamburg Port Authority as we expect to see them integrating many more innovative technologies, helping build Hamburg as a smart and connected city.

Dr. Saxe states that , “HPA will focus on all major technologies trends and combine these in the most efficient way to faciliate port operations. From our perspective, the most important trends are cloud solutions, mobile IoT systems and big data.”

Service virtualisation is becoming ever more common in the port industry. We asked Dr. Saxe what HPA is doing to virtualise their services.

He said, “In 2014, we developed a strategy for mobile end devices that is currently being implemented. Together with IT partners we have developed mobile business apps for our nautical division in charge of navigation in the Port of Hamburg as well as for our landside infrastructure maintenance team that services bridges and locks. These apps enable real-time communication via tablets using our strategic systems, GIS and SAP. We also use virtual communication, such as web and telepresence meetings, in our day-to-day operations.”

Service virtualisation is becoming common in the port industry as it allows for greater intake of traffic and allows efficient operations throughout a port.In the age of smart cities, Hamburg is often considered one of a kind.  By 2025 the Hamburg port  expects to handle over 18 million cargo containers annually.

Dr. Saxe describes Hamburg as a ‘digital city’, explaining that Hamburg-based businesses are developing new digital offerings in all areas. The Senate of Hamburg has adopted a ‘digital city strategy’ to create suitable structures to ensure optimum development. A ‘digital city co-ordination centre’ will accompany and co-ordinate the process.

We asked Dr. Saxe, how integrated IoT technology helps Hamburg on its journey towards becoming a smart city. “An example is the digitisation strategy for the Port of Hamburg. The aim of the smartPORT projects is to support technical innovations to develop the Port of Hamburg as the integral hub of the digital city. This provides an environment for new IT solutions to be tested to improve service quality and urban life. ”HPA must implement these strategies without interrupting port operations.

Dr Saxe explains how this is possible -“smartPORT projects are created to present prototypes of innovative solutions. These prototypes are assessed for practical use on how they can be integrated into the daily running of the port.Solutions that are relevant to the optimisation of day-to-day operations and the changes in our daily business are transmitted to the smartPORT-vision.”

It is expected that the port of Hamburg will handle over 18 million cargo containers annually, by the year 2025. We were curious what IT solutions are needed to meet these high expectations.

We asked Dr. Saxe what challenges ports face when trying to modernise their operations. He told us, “Along with intelligent solutions for port traffic and freight flows, compatibility with the environment and the port business, legal questions related to the port industry and opportunities within the cruise sector”

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