PIXEL is the first smart, flexible and scalable solution for reducing environmental impacts
while enabling the optimization of operations of port ecosystems through IoT.

The PIXEL project team believes that the Port of the Future (PoF) concept does not reflect only a future of large European ports, but also of the medium and small ones.  Moreover, the PIXEL partners are fully aware of  the current diversity and heterogeneity of this kind of ports caused by port size but also by their internal organisation resulting in a remarkable gap in small and medium port capacity to move on to the port of the future. Therefore PIXEL advocates for a PoF concept structured into two levels:

  • The level of current and emerging requirements placed upon all ports (e.g. requirements due to competition, environmental, governance, and other issues)
  • The level of implementation of the PoF concept, which has to be based on a realistic assessment of the current capabilities of the different sizes of ports, and more importantly on the opportunities for enhancing those capabilities through the employment of technological, managerial and scientific approaches.

Furthermore, since economic, environmental and social sustainability are intertwined, all three have to be achieved for their impact to be sustained. Therefore, while PIXEL is mainly focusing on the environmental sustainability of ports, it also aims at enhancing their economic and social sustainability.

The size of a port, and its corresponding financial and organisational resources, are often assumed as the main prerequisites for a port to be capable of introducing innovation and achieving a significant reduction of its environmental impact. According to this assumption, medium and small ports are destined to be followers in terms of environmental initiatives, innovation and impact. In contrast to this, PIXEL is implemented on the principle that, regardless of the size of the port, it is possible for a port with limited resources (i.e. a medium and small port) to significantly minimize its environmental impacts by relying on scientific methods and innovative technologies. This is reflected to the project’s vision, which is:

A port of the future in which small and medium ports are strong innovators in terms of environmental sustainability

Therefore, PIXEL’s mission, is:

To bring the Sustainable Port of the Future paradigm to the complete spectrum of ports

Where ‘Sustainable Port’ is considered as a port which is characterised by environmentally responsible, operationally efficient and socially conscious procedures and operations.

To realise its vision and live up to its mission, PIXEL employs a strategy summarised in the following points:

  1. Establish a single-metric index (PEI) to (i) integrate diverse environmental impacts of a port, (ii) provide an applicable environmental assessment tool and (iii) serve as a standardized and transparent metric for addressing the environmental impacts of port operations.
  2. Employ an IoT-based infrastructure to efficiently capture operational data and connect port resources, port-city actors and sensor networks
  3. Aggregate, integrate and interoperate multi-source heterogeneous data in an automatic way
  4. Model, simulate and analyse port processes in order to predict their environmental impacts and propose optimisation strategies 
  5. Demonstrate the applicability of the above approaches using pilot ports

The project has defined its implementation boundaries (i.e. its scope) in such a way that it focuses on the segments of port operations where action is mostly needed Therefore, PIXEL focuses on:

  1. The integration of operational information exchange, instead of information regarding regulatory compliance, the latter being addressed by other initiatives (e.g. Maritime & Customs Single Windows)
  2. The port-city area and the respective interaction and sometimes conflicts on issues of environmental sustainability, instead of focusing only on the impacts occurring within the port area
  3. Ports possessing average or limited capabilities & resources, instead of focusing on the limited number of ports with abundant resources
  4. Multipurpose port operations (e.g. containers, general cargo, bulk, passengers) vs dedicated ones (e.g. only containers), aiming to tackle the complexity of handling different types of cargo.

What has to be made clear s that, although PIXEL is addressing small and medium ports, it is not a project only for these type of ports. PIXEL output aims to be a flexible and scalable solution for reducing environmental impact while optimising port ecosystems operations no matter their size.

As its final output, PIXEL will provide an integrated technological and environmental solution, verified through real-life port use cases for environmental leverage and process optimization, as depicted in the following Figure.

The PIXEL technological solution, will be comprised of:

  1. A universal (widely applicable to European ports) part being the PIXEL Information Hub and Integrated Dashboard
  2. A port-specific, to a certain extent, part, being the models, data analysis results and optimisation tools developed for each one of the project ports.

On the other hand, the PIXEL environmental solution, will consist of:

  1. A environmental metric – the Port Environmental Index (PEI) which integrates the environmental impacts into a single indicator
  2. The environmental impact assessment models required as input providers to the PEI.

The integrated delivery of the PIXEL technological and environmental solutions provides ports with the opportunities to:

  1. Operationalise the PEI using: (i) the PIXEL Information Hub’s IoT connectivity and data homogenisation capability and (ii) the PIXEL Integrated Dashboard’s analytical capabilities
  2. Assess the results of the optimization exercises using PEI as an ultimate metric, thus expressing them in a way which can be understood by all port stakeholders in the same manner.