Connected City

SmartPort Solution:

Optimizing Port Ecosystems with IoT Analytics

More than 80% of global trade travels by sea, passing through ports en route to its final destination. A critical component of the port ecosystem, many major ports have hundreds of barges that transport freight to and from ships and barge transport through inland waterways. In fact, barges are the most efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly choice for transporting bulk commodities. A single barge can carry 1,500 tons— the equivalent towing capacity of 15 rail cars or 60 semi-trailers.

Surprisingly, there is no real-time tracking and monitoring system for today’s barges—barges are effectively “off the grid”. When real-time barge location and status are not known, ports experience inefficiencies and safety issues:

  • Sub-optimal mooring space utilization
  • Increased potential for in-port collisions
  • Sub-optimal barge operations
  • Inflexible and flat pricing model
  • Increased potential for in-port collisions



SmartPort makes barge operations safer and more efficient and maximizes port assets

The Solution

SmartPort identifies and tracks barges in real time using RFID tags that are continuously detected by a port-wide Cisco Wi-Fi real-time locating system (RTLS). The system displays real-time barge location and tracking on a layered map of the port, providing  visibility, monitoring barge locations and status in real time and issuing alerts when unexpected behaviors or patterns occur.

SmartPort processes and applies IoT analytics to the locations and tracking data, creating valuable new information, such as efficiency percentages and daily revenue and turnaround times, which it distributes to port stakeholders through operator consoles and mobile device applications. This is the kind of information that businesses need to make a difference


SmartPort dashboard delivers valuable information to decision-makers

This information can also be used as input for simulations and prediction models. For example, port authorities can evaluate the effect of variable pricing models on mooring space utilization, while barge operators can forecast future utilization rates.


SmartPort adds value across the port ecosystem—for shipping companies, barge operators, port authorities and terminal companies.

  • Improves barge operations efficiency
  • Maximize port asset (mooring spaces) utilization
  • Decreases ship turnaround times
  • Increases in-port safety
  • Reduces water path congestion
  • Enables new revenue-generating opportunities

System Capabilities

For Port Authorities

  • Enables real-time asset identification and tracking
  • Increases efficiency of mooring and parking space occupancy and queues
  • Predicts demand for storage of goods
  • Improves decision making through evaluation of port ship and port traffic throughputs, ship turnaround times and barge and terminal company performance

For Barge Companies

  • Enables smart routing for operators in real time
  • Provides evaluations of barge transport efficiency
  • Predictsmooring space costs, number of ships to serve and capacity of goods

For Shipping Companies

  • Measures ship loading and unloading times, turnaround times and barge company performance

For Terminal Companies

  • Provides visibility into terminal and queues efficiency
  • Predicts mooring space costs and capacity of goods




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