The Portuguese government has announced the first six partners in its ocean economy-focused Bluetech Accelerator, which will initially concentrate on supporting start-ups working towards the development of technologies for “Ports & Shipping 4.0.”
The six partners include two shipping companies (Portline Group and ETE Group), two port organisations (Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo, and Sines and Algarve) and two technology companies (Inmarsat and Tekever).
This first phase of the programme will focus on innovative digital technologies for the port sector, and applications supporting navigation and maritime logistics. The six partners will be involved in selecting and providing funding to the first group of chosen start-ups, expected to be announced in the fourth quarter of 2019.
In particular, the group expects to see innovation from firms working with Big Data, Internet of Things, new power and propulsion systems for ships, autonomous vessels, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and cyber security.
Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, said that the new programme would also aim to create a network of Port Tech Clusters, bringing together innovative companies and research centres to shorten development cycles and bring ‘Bluetech’ to market faster, applying Industry 4.0 principles to the maritime and ports sector.