Antwerp launches maritime tech accelerator programme

Silicon Valley-based tech accelerator Plug and Play has announced the launch of its first maritime programme in Antwerp, Belgium, in collaboration with Euronav, CMB, Port of Antwerp, the City of Antwerp and DXC Technology.

The purpose of the initiative is to connect international start-ups with the stakeholder partners, allowing them to pilot their technologies, the group said. Led by a local team of four people, Plug and Play Maritime will be situated at the pre-campus of Maritime Campus Antwerp, with a launch event planned for June 2021.

“With Plug and Play, the City of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp strengthen their position as innovation leaders in the international maritime business,” said Claude Marinower, Vice-Mayor for Economy, Industry and Innovation, City of Antwerp.

“The city wants to be part of the European top of scale-up cities by 2025. We take a lot of initiatives in our growth clusters: digital and circular economy. The City and the Port work closely together in the digital innovation hub The Beacon. With Plug and Play this collaboration gets a new dimension.”

“We are confident that thanks to this new initiative, Plug and Play Maritime, we will be able to accelerate our joined ambitions.”

Plug and Play Maritime will run a co-working space for start-ups to utilise and scale their business, with an initial focus on technology areas including clean fuels and energy, Big Data and Internet of Things, future logistics, efficient shipping, autonomous vessels, and sensors.

The initiative will be based around a 12-week open innovation programme, run twice a year. Each programme will welcome approximately 20 selected international start-ups that are addressing specific technological needs identified by the founding partners, who will work with them on pilots and proofs of concept to gear up for production-ready implementations.

The goal is to have at least one joint project completed for each start-up to be showcased at the final event at the end of each programme, the group said.

“The fundamental idea of the Maritime Campus Antwerp is to create scale and combine forces among those maritime players and stakeholders that want to tackle the huge innovation challenges for the maritime industry in the decades to come,” said Bart Huybrechts, Managing Director, Maritime Campus Antwerp.

“The Plug and Play Maritime platform will contribute to the Maritime Campus Antwerp ecosystem by bringing the best start-ups and early scale-ups from all over the world to Antwerp to accelerate the introduction of maritime tech for our corporate partners.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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