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Interconnectivity, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Resilience – How Technology Empowers Leading Ports - chainPORT concludes 5th Annual Meeting in Montreal

Interconnectivity, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Resilience – How Technology Empowers Leading Ports - chainPORT concludes 5th Annual Meeting in Montreal

Presidents, CIOs and head strategists of 11 world class ports gather to continue close collaboration of recent years

chainPORT – the multilateral partnership of the world leading ports – has just concluded its 5th Annual Meeting which was hosted on September 16 & 17 by the Port of Montreal.

While welcoming delegates to the event, Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority mentioned: “After participating in the chainPORT Hackathon and hosting the chainPORT Academy last year, we are very proud to host the 5th edition of the Annual General Meeting. We see our membership into chainPORT as significant in facilitating and accelerating our digital transformation by tapping into a very rich pool of knowledge and expertise.”
Montreal was in fact well positioned to hold such discussions, with its stated ambition to become a global hub in artificial intelligence. While the overarching theme of the meeting was ‘innovation ecosystems’, Vachon continued by saying that “we are confident that by the end of the event, delegates got a true sense of what makes Montreal a unique model and a true North American leader in innovation.”
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Caption: chainPORT Annual Meeting 2019; Source: Port of Montreal

In Montreal, the discussions were centered on the need for supply chains to become more predictable in serving customers. The insights from invited key international cargo interests confirmed that deliverables under chainPORT must align with expectations of cargo owners and port users as the manufacturing industry simultaneously undergoes digital transformation.

Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles further emphasized “Faced with increasing trade headwinds, our customers more than ever look at ports for answers. With its spirit of collaboration, chainPORT comes as a timely solution to deepen coordination with the aim of making the supply chain more transparent and reliable.”
Luc Arnouts, VP International relations and networks of Port of Antwerp states: “Tangible cooperation between ports on exchanging maritime and cargo data will accelerate the efficiency of the supply chain and make them future proof. We are excited that we just signed a renewed MOU with the Port of Montreal including a concrete action plan for the coming 3 years on exchanging and building market intelligence, innovation projects on f.i. drones and optimizing maritime infrastructure.”

Thinking ahead: joint coordination needed to increase cyber resilience.

Following several high profiled cyber-attacks in the industry in recent years, chainPORT partners showcased results of joint efforts during the meeting and decided to further deepen their collaboration in this field.  Jens Meier, CEO of the Hamburg Port Authority, said after the meeting: “In terms of cyber security, over the last year chainPORT helped galvanize our efforts and it is precisely in this global challenge that we can greatly benefit from our joint know-how.”

Make Ports Smarter – chainPORT explores possibilities in artificial intelligence

A top priority on this year’s agenda was accelerating the smart adoption of artificial intelligence in the port sector. The technology holds tremendous potential to further optimize processes and increase efficiency in ports.

This was supported by an exchange of the chainPORT representatives with Professor Yoshua Bengio, one of the world's leading and most sought-after researcher in the field of artificial intelligence and deep learning. During a visit at the O-Mile-X, North America’s largest artificial intelligence lab, Dr. Bengio elaborated in practical terms how artificial intelligence can advance the collective innovation agenda of the maritime industry in tackling complex logistical problems.

As there are some strong links between the Antwerp (University, The Beacon) and the AI hub in Montreal, Piet Opstaele, innovation manager states: “Port of Antwerp is working hard to implement artificial intelligence for inspection of maritime infrastructure; oil spill detection, detection of incidents, … by building a machine vision production environment, also the basis for APICA – the advanced digital twin for the Port of Antwerp.”


chainPORT is a multilateral partnership of the world leading ports with the aim of leveraging the latest developments in technology and realizing the vision of a smart, interconnected and digital port ecosystem. Members are committed to the exchange of knowledge, innovation and to the promotion of strategic topics.  

chainPORT was initiated in April 2016 by the Port Authorities of Hamburg and Los Angeles in collaboration with the Global Institute of Logistics. Currently it is supported by the member ports of Antwerp, Barcelona, Busan, Felixstowe, Indonesia, Montreal, Panama, Singapore, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Rotterdam.



About Port of Antwerp

As Europe's second-largest port, the Port of Antwerp is a major lifeline for the Belgian economy: more than 300 line services to over 800 destinations ensure global connectivity. The Port of Antwerp annually handles around 231 million tonnes of international maritime freight, and is home to Europe's largest integrated chemical cluster. The Port of Antwerp accounts, directly and indirectly, for a total of around 143.000 jobs and more than €20 billion added value.  

True to its mission 'a home port vital for a sustainable future’, Antwerp Port Authority aims to flexibly respond to a rapidly evolving maritime market, allowing the port to continue playing its role as a leading world port. The emphasis in this respect is on cooperation, adaptability, a strong focus on innovation and digitisation, and on sustainable added value, as well as on responsibility towards society. 

Antwerp Port Authority is a limited liability company of public law, with the City of Antwerp as sole shareholder. It employs over 1.600 people. Port alderman Annick De Ridder is chairman of the Board of Directors and Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the day-to-day management.  

The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to

Port of Antwerp
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp