ESPO Award 2020 Shortlisted Projects: Algeciras Port Authority

26 October 2020

The ESPO Award 2020 will go to the port managing body that has developed a successful strategy to attract innovation and local start-ups to the port and thus matches supply and demand for innovative solutions for the port and its stakeholders. The winning port will demonstrate to what extent this strategy has led not only to stimulating innovation in the port, but also making the port ecosystem an attractive place for innovative ideas and local young start-up talents.

The four projects that are shortlisted for this year’s Award are the projects of Algeciras Port Authority (Spain), Port of Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Port Authority of Lisbon (Portugal) and Puertos del Estado (Spain).

ESPO is proud to present the shortlisted projects before the winner is announced during a special virtual event on 10 November. Register here to be the first to know the winner.

Algeciras Port Authority

The Journey of Innovation – Travesía de la Innovación

ESPO: Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for the ESPO Award 2020! Could you briefly describe your project?

The Journey of Innovation is a set of initiatives based on the concept of open innovation to create the ideal ecosystem for port-logistics entrepreneurs and start-ups. This means that:

    • We have implemented and certified an Innovation Management System to systematise innovation activities and support open innovation activities;
    • We are consolidating an Innovation Culture across the Port’s employees and the port community through the organisation of workshops, symposiums, demonstration days, talks and awards;
    • We are sharing our innovation challenges with start-ups/scale-ups and SME tech companies in order to find innovative solutions and reduce their time to market;
    • We are consolidating the “Algeciras Port Living Lab” by collaborating with start-ups and universities in the co-creation of innovative solutions in a real and operational environment. In that sense, we make our port available for testing and developing pilots and proof-of-concepts by sharing data and facilitating the use of some operation areas. We have already achieved the first results and implementations.

ESPO: How does your project contribute to improving your relationship with the port citizens and does it succeed in directly reaching out to the local community?

This project contributes to improving our relationship with the port citizens in the sense that we are attracting and creating talent in the port and in the city of Algeciras. More concretely, this means encouraging entrepreneurs, university students, start-ups/scale-ups and edge tech companies to be involved in the creation of a powerful port-city ecosystem supporting and enhancing the competitivity of the Port at the same time that added-value activities are generated in the city. Since many innovation activities are taking place, new high value jobs, jobs opportunities, university studies and collaborations, companies, and start-ups are generated as a consequence.

ESPO: Could you describe the original and innovative character of your project?

Firstly, the original and innovative aspect of our project can be seen in our consideration of innovation as a key process (instead of a project or programme): continuous, systematic and integrated in our business. In addition, sharing and opening our challenges, as well as facilitating the co-creation of innovative solutions in the port-logistics sector supported by an international and singular environment such as Algeciras Port, also shows the originality of our project.

The innovative aspect of our project is that we offer Algeciras Port’s physical and digital assets as a “Port Living Lab” where innovative solutions can be created, tested and demonstrated in a real and operational environment. That aspect will help and contribute to consolidating a port-city ecosystem that encourages the creation and attraction of new jobs, market opportunities, university programmes and of course auxiliary activities supporting the daily activity of companies.

ESPO: Why do you think your project deserves to win the ESPO Award?

We believe that the following considerations demonstrate why our project deserves to win the ESPO Award:

    • It has already achieved some first tangible and realistic results with pioneering start-ups and intra-entrepreneurs;
    • It is a holistic project with a 360º view on innovation, with ideas, projects, products management and start-ups collaboration;
    • It has a long-term vision which can be combined with initiatives in the short term;
    • It could be an inspiration for other ecosystems;
    • It will improve the recognition of ports as innovation ecosystems.

ESPO: How has your project contributed to encouraging innovators and local start-ups to be part of the port ecosystem? Could you tell us more?

The following activities and initiatives have contributed to encouraging innovators and local start-ups to be part of our port ecosystem:

    • Innovation Awards (two editions) at port authority and port community level to encourage the creation and development of innovative ideas;
    • Innovation Awards at university level (also two editions) to encourage research activities around the port challenges and to support internships in the port community. This has been organised in collaboration with an RD&I organisation supported by the city of Algeciras and local universities (Fundación Campus Tecnológico de Algeciras);
    • International Scouting to match our challenges with solutions/start-ups;
    • Organising a Symposium and Open Innovation Days and other events on a yearly basis;
    • Participating as a partner in local and national incubator/accelerator programmes (Minerva, Andalucía Open Future, Ports 4.0, Connected Mobility Hub);
    • Providing open data and facilitating the use of the port facilities and infrastructure for start-ups/scale-ups;
    • Communicating and participating in international events. 

"We are fully convinced that we cannot create sustainable value for our customer without an innovation culture, which is why we are considering innovation as a key business process: continuous, systematic and integrated in our business. This mindset is the cornerstone to make Algeciras Next Generation Port a reality."

Francisco J. de los Santos, Chief Information and Innovation Officer of Algeciras Port Authority

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