When data economy hits maritime: shared dataspace boosts port performance

article picture: When data economy hits maritime: shared dataspace boosts port performance

How could cargo vessels schedule their arrival at a port’s newly freed up berth in a timely manner? How could more accurate timetables for unloading a ship be provided to different port operators? And finally: How could the entire logistics chain be made more efficient, becoming fully optimised with a more comprehensive situational picture? The new Maritime DataSpace project, spearheaded by national traffic management agency Fintraffic, is currently searching for answers to these questions. The Maritime DataSpace project is expected to lay a foundation for a groundbreaking shared port stay data communication service.

This means that, for the first time in Finland, Fintraffic’s Vessel Traffic Services is taking a long, hard look at the utilisation of dataspace architecture in the communication of information between different maritime logistics actors. The goal: information related to port stays is communicated between different actors in a transparent, reliable manner and based on common rules.


Project Manager Olli Soininen from Fintraffic’s Vessel Traffic Services says that Finland is well positioned to further develop data exchange between different actors in maritime logistics. Soininen notes that national maritime and port logistics can already show “strong evidence” of many data-driven services in which the real-time sharing of time data and opening of interfaces has made the interplay of ports and arriving ships more efficient.

“The objective of our Maritime Data- Space project is to expand the communication of information related to port stays for use by several operators using a shared data communication service,” says Soininen.

In 2023, Maritime DataSpace project will implement specifications for data communication service solutions that will ensure the secure, transparent and common rules-based communication of data. This year the project also intends to test the solution model with a pilot implementation of the scheduling of two different port stays. Fintraffic serves as the dataspace operator in the project which will run until the end of 2023.


Naturally, there are many factors behind a well-functioning logistics chain. One key factor is timetable data that is as accurate as possible, linking maritime and land cargo into efficient transport chains. In fact, the Maritime DataSpace research project utilises the ‘Just in Time Port Arrival’ and ‘Virtual Port Arrival’ operating models to enhance and optimize vessels’ arrival/ departure at ports, while reducing fuel costs and CO2 emissions from vessels.

Of the two models, Just in Time Port Arrival is more self-explanatory, simply meaning that a vessel arrives at the port at the right time, as planned, just before loading or unloading begins. The operating model is based on real-time information exchange between the vessel, port and other stakeholders, which enables efficient scheduling and smooth traffic.

The main idea of the Virtual Port Arrival, on the other hand, is the creation of an operating model that provides information to vessels if there is no berth available at the port at the planned time. In this case, the vessel can slow down its speed and aim its arrival to the time when a berth will be available.

A vessel acknowledges its berth reservation to the port virtually, in which case it is recognized that the vessel is arriving at the port after the berth is made available and the vessel is normally in the service queue. This model generates clear savings in fuel costs and CO2 emissions for vessels, allowing them to optimize their speed based on the actual availability of the berth.

photo: Pixabay


Olli Soininen explains that the benefits brought about by both operating models largely depend on the type of sea freight transport, being the greatest for tramping.

“Faster turnaround times, shorter waiting times and lower fuel costs and CO2 emissions result in computationally significant savings for terminal operators, ports, cargo and vessel owners,” Soininen says.

The Maritime DataSpace project is funded by Sitra, and it is a part of the development of NEMO, the national Port Call Time Stamp and Estimation Service. Fintraffic’s partners in the project include Siili Solutions and Awake.ai, who are responsible for technological development. The project pilot will be carried out at the Port of Oxelösund, Sweden.

by: Sami J: Anteroinen


– maintains and develops one of the world’s most extensive maritime traffic control and management systems

– promotes the new service models needed for automated maritime traffic, including information and situational awareness services as well as remote vessel control and support for remote pilotage

– seeks to utilize digitalization extensively, ensuring the competitiveness of Finnish shipping and the emergence of intelligent maritime traffic

– actively promotes the development of transport ecosystems both nationally and internationally

– Fintraffic’s Time Stamp and Estimation Service and Port Activity app were used as model examples for reducing marine climate emissions at UN’s COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt

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