The port is an open platform for research and development. By bringing people and ideas together, Port of Antwerp is shaping the port of the future. Along with startups, scale-ups, accelerators, investment funds, government and knowledge institutions, Port of Antwerp is creating a strong ecosystem that supports and accelerates innovation.



Cooperation is and will remain an important part of a sustainable world. This will include transparent data exchange, shared initiatives around The Internet of Things and digitalisation of maritime innovations. For example, Port of Antwerp has a permanent place in The Beacon. A hotspot where major technology providers in Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, top researchers, startups and scale-ups collaborate on innovative, sustainable solutions.


The Beacon is the result of a collaboration agreement with Capital of Things between the City of Antwerp, the University of Antwerp, IMEC and Agoria





All the players in the logistics chain have information that they exchange with each other. NxtPort, a subsidiary of Port of Antwerp, makes sharing this data easier and more transparent. This way, all the players in the logistics chain get the right information at the right time.


The Bulkchain application ensures that the administrative processes in the breakbulk sector run faster and more smoothly, while Certified Pick up (CPu) offers a digital, secure and integrated solution for the release of containers. 



Plug & Play Maritime


Plug & Play Maritime puts international startups in contact with the City of Antwerp, CMB, DXC Technology, Euronav and Port of Antwerp.


The aim? To test new technologies and drive the future of the maritime sector through world-class development and innovation.






There are many innovative opportunities in the port area. Startups and scale-ups, as well as academics and other tech companies, should be able to showcase their technologies to the world in this ‘living lab’. Together, this is how we will push our boundaries and become top-of-mind as a port in the world.


Erwin Verstraelen
Chief Digital & Innovation officer at Port of Antwerp


Testing ground for experiments


The port is a large area with many different activities and opportunities. That is why Port of Antwerp is opening up the port area as a testing ground where ideas and projects can be safely tested in a real industrial environment.


During the corona crisis, for example, Port of Antwerp served as a testing site for the digital bracelets from technology company Rombit for preventing infection in the workplace. Port of Antwerp and technology company Zensor have joined forces to increase safety at the quay walls. To that end, Zensor developed the Bollard Monitor, a digital sensor that measures the tension on a bollard.


There is an intensive collaboration between the University of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp. The port of Antwerp offers a wide range of research opportunities on topics such as mobility, sustainability, the environment, biodiversity, IT, safety, etc. For example, work is being done on the automatic detection of oil incidents, the water quality in the docks, smart asphalt and unmanned barge transport.


Culture of innovation


Port of Antwerp encourages employees to dare to experiment. Anyone can innovate. Among other things, colleagues of the Port Authority can take part in innovation competitions via an employee app.


This is how a project for safe sandbags on the locks came about. Sewer lines weighted with illegal objects are very dangerous. That is why some colleagues came up with the idea of making sandbags and handing them out to vessels that have been stopped.