Antwerp port and Belgian authorities invest in digital data platform


Antwerp Port Authority and Belgium’s Federal Participation & Investment Company (FPIM) have teamed up to purchase NxtPort, the company developing a digital data platform for use in the shipping and logistics sectors

Under the deal, the port authority will take a 75% stake in NxtPort, while FPIM will have 25%, with the transaction being paid for with capital along with a subordinated loan, together amounting to €5.25m ($6.2m).

“With our participation we seek to contribute towards the further development of NxtPort as an innovative data platform that will be a driver of logistical, maritime and industrial innovation in our port, as well as offering gains in efficiency,” said Antwerp Port Authority chief executive Jacques Vandermeiren.

“Big data is the fuel of the future economy, it is an engine of growth and change. So we have to back it in a big way.”

The NxtPort platform is a key component of the port of Antwerp’s push toward data-driven innovation and the digitalisation of its operational processes to make them more efficient.

“With NxtPort we aim to make this data transparent for all players in the supply chain,” said NxtPort chief executive Daniel Lievens.

“In this way we, along with the other port players, can develop the port of the future, where digitisation opens the way to smart, cost-efficient logistics.”

As a result of the acquisition, the port authority will have a seat on NxtPort’s board of directors and be able to provide more input in developing digital applications for the port community.

In June, the port authority said it planned to introduce a digital platform to optimise efficiency in the container handling logistics chain at its terminals.

Developed by start-up firm T-Mining and based on blockchain technology, the platform’s aim is to eliminate physical paperwork from the box handling process and improve operational safety.

The first stage of the planned project was to get a number of companies in the supply chain to participate in a short-term pilot programme.