Mobile port

Port of Antwerp is looking for ways to transport more goods in a sustainable way. To achieve this modal shift, we are working on solutions such as autonomous inland navigation craft. Digital applications, such as smart asphalt and an inland navigation application, are intended to monitor and improve the traffic situation in and around the port.

Autonomous vehicles


Innovation is a strong driver for providing solutions to mobility problems: sharing systems (e.g. scooter), electric bikes, etc., have proven their impact for passenger transport. For shipping traffic, remotely controlled inland vessels or small autonomous boats can have a positive effect on mobility at the port. 


Seafar has already developed a technology for the remote control of automatic inland navigation vessels, for example. Research by the University of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp has shown that 3D sonar sensors, inspired by bats, can also help. The Echodrone is an autonomous bearing vessel that carries out regular depth measurements in hard-to-reach places at the port. This makes the Echodrone a perfect complement to the manned bearing vessel, Echo.


Rivers and canals provide a natural highway for transport. Innovation must be accelerated to exploit the full potential of our inland navigation network, making inland navigation transport even more attractive and competitive. Like, for example, unmanned sailing with automated ships on small waterways.


Erwin Verstraelen,
Chief Digital & Innovation officer at Port of Antwerp


Digital modal shift


A smart port is a port that knows what is happening and how shipping is progressing at all times. The Antwerp Port Information and Control System (APICS) manages the monitoring of shipping traffic to, from and within the port, tug operations, lock planning, berth management, cargo handling, registration of dangerous goods and so much more. This data is available to all port users and helps them to make the right decisions. 


Alongside APICS, the BTS (Barge Traffic System), RTS (Rail Traffic System) and Terminal planner platforms aim to simplify communication between the various players in the logistics chain. In addition, the APICS Barge App allows barge skippers to reserve a lock and consult the available berths in real-time. 



Asphalt of the future


Port of Antwerp and the University of Antwerp have developed new types of asphalt that extend the working life of roads subjected to heavy traffic. These asphalts are part of a larger study to develop sustainable road infrastructure for a port environment. The objective is to have all new roads in the port covered with the new asphalts.