Turning the Rotterdam harbour into the most efficient and sustainable port through an industry-first open-data platform

How do you innovate in an industry which has been around for 5000 years and largely hasn’t changed? We took up the challenge back in 2012. After 6 years of development, from 2018 onwards, ships entering Rotterdam will do this more efficiently, increase usage, save money and reduce CO2.


The new innovation is called Pronto. It has been created after 6 years of hard work, together with many parties in the value chain. Read more here about the steps that the Port of Rotterdam took, and the ingredients that made the journey successful. The Port of Rotterdam recently published the analysis that 20% cost reduction is expected because of this initiative.


Back in 2012, Invited by our client KPN, we embarked on a series of B2B co-creation sessions. The question was: how can we create more value for our customers? The Port of Rotterdam – one of the world’s largest harbours – was one of the subjects. Together with a wide range of experts we co-created several fresh and forward-looking concepts. What if we could create a harbour were all would benefit from openness and data sharing? What if ships, terminals, ports and suppliers would cooperate fully?

In a Treehouse co-creation session we went through the 5 stages of strategic concept co-creation. First we developed a vision for successful IoT solutions. Secondly, we dived deeper into the actual Rotterdam challenge: ‘How can we connect static and dynamic data to reduce cost, time and emissions?’ Thirdly, we created a wealth of new ideas. Fourth, we selected 4 ideas and turned them into tangible concrete concepts. Lastly, we asked all participants for their advice.

In Rotterdam they say: “There is only one thing better than a ship entering the port, which is a ship leaving port.” We changed this motto into “There is only one thing better than a ship entering the port, which is a ship leaving at the right time – and we know it.”

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Martijn Pater