In Brief
The Port of Rotterdam Authority is welcoming innovation with arms wide open. Its vision to help make a smarter, cleaner, more efficient port has led to the deployment of water drones capable of surveillance and "eating" plastic waste.

Rotterdam Port in the Netherlands, the largest port in Europe, has been seeking new solutions for a better, smarter, cleaner, more efficient port. As a result of the drive for improving the port, innovations such as the AquasmartXL water drone and the “Waste Shark” have been born.

The AquasmartXL is a small intelligent unmanned boat with a camera. It helps the with its surveillance features, sending real-time images to report of any danger to the Rotterdam Port.

Another innovation, slightly larger in size than the AquasmartXL, is what is fondly called the “Waste Shark”. The Waste Shark by RanMarine is as big as a passenger car and is equipped with a water sanitation feature akin to whale shark’s open mouth. It can “devour” up to 500 kg (1120 lbs) of waste, after which the waste gathered is processed.

Allard Castelein, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority welcomes innovation with open arms. “Innovation cannot be forced. However, you can create an environment in which innovation is likely to take place and be in line with the market,” he said.

The Rotterdam Port Authority’s startup accelerator, PortXL, searches for innovations across the globe to find technological means of improving port operations and maintenance. This could allow for Rotterdam to become a testing ground for the future of ports worldwide.