Hackathon “Portathon Baltic 2019” explored challenges of modern ports

 On 20-22 of September the first Port Technology Hackathon “Portathon Baltic 2019” took place in Klaipėda, which became a great hit of “Innovation Week” in Western Lithuania. Participants generated 18 solutions full of innovative approach and creativity. 

The aim of the hackathon “Portathon Baltic 2019” was to bring together professionals and technology enthusiasts of different competencies in the environment open to creativity in order to generate ideas and prototypes applicable in the logistics sector by automating and digitalising port terminal equipment and various processes as well as developing smart transport ecosystems.

The challenge was accepted by 80 participants from 4 countries – Lithuania, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.

Klaipėda Science and Technology Park organised the event, which took place in the Lithuanian port city for the first time, together with Klaipėda State Seaport Authority which supported the idea as well as with the companies belonging to the Lithuanian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) cluster, and the Science, Innovation and Technology Agency.

The idea of the event as well as the initiative of Klaipėda Science and Technology Park to organise it were matured by the involvement in the international project “Smart-up BSR”, which has gathered 13 organisations from 9 countries in total.

The focus of the partners of the project was on more sustainable cooperation between the countries of the Baltic Sea region, and on the effort to contribute to addressing the major challenges of the European societies with the help of smart specialisation priorities of individual countries.

Hackathon “Portathon Baltic 2019” became one of the first pilot projects within the framework of the “Smart-up BSR” project, the aim of which was to implement a part of the strategy of the smart city which includes the smart port. And mainly for this purpose a broad community of the representatives of the target groups – business, port and science – has been brought together. The hackathon has also received a support of the project “Connect2 Small Ports”.

The teams of “Portathon Baltic 2019” had to develop the solutions as well as to present them to the commission with 48 hours. 12 mentors from Klaipėda State Seaport Authority, international companies "Emerson", "Schneider Electric" as well as "Klaipėdos nafta", other business organisations, Klaipėda University, Lithuanian Innovation Centre and Klaipėda Science and Technology Park helped the participants during the marathon of generation of ideas and prototypes.

The prize fund of 4000 EUR was shared between the representatives of Klaipėda University as well as the guests from Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden). Even three teams from Klaipėda alma mater have been successful: “Digital Robots” has been awarded for the presented solution for the document processing system using robots and artificial intelligence, “Alpha Team” – for the solution for the use of energy currents in ports, “Clever LNG” – for the solution directed towards the improvement of the operational planning of LNG terminals. The victory to the representatives of Blekinge Institute of Technology was brought by the presented innovative information system for managing cargo processes at port terminals.

The academic community was also represented by the teams and enthusiasts from the University of Applied Sciences “Hochschule Wismar” (Germany), Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology, Klaipėda State University of Applied Sciences, Lithuanian Maritime Academy, Vilnius Railway Transport and Business Services Schools.

The team from the laboratory “Tavo robotas”, which triumphed in the hackathon “Industry 4.0” organised in Klaipėda last year, as well as the companies operating in the port city – “Vakarų laivų gamykla”, AB, “Emotion”, delegated specialists of the business community of Klaipėda FEZ, business representatives, and start-ups from other Lithuanian cities have zealously worked in the event. The youngest participants of the event from Klaipėda Student's Self-Expression Centre have been actively drawing lessons as well.

The range of solutions provided by the teams was extremely wide – autonomous electric ferry, mobile application for the management of truck terminal, underwater drone, inland container barges reservation system, joint service and resource acquisition system, mathematical model for more efficient organisation of work in ports, technical solution for dust removal when handling bulk cargoes, and a robot for measuring and analysing potential pollution.

“Open and attractive format of the hackathon became a powerful incentive for companies, students, professors and start-ups to form strong teams, to unlock the potential of our country and the entire Baltic Sea region, to fight for the prizes and the attention of potential investors” – said Andrius Sutnikas, the Development Manager of Klaipėda Science and Technology Park.