Integrating maritime and hinterland logistics

Smart collaboration in the shipping chain

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By 2050, port actors connect/integrate maritime and hinterland logistics to a point where they offer the lowest cost, the fastest reliable service with zero waste and emissions in a safe and secure environment. Port will be able to:

  • Achieve zero emissions in port-hinterland logistics
  • Provide real time information (digital corridors) throughout the supply chain
  • Transfer the cargo in a seamless way offering customer tailored solutions (synchro-modality, cost/time trade-off, new cargo handling solutions, etc.)
  • Enable a dynamic business environment fostering smart collaborative planning of ship to hinterland logistics (capacity sharing, self-organising logistics, physical internet, coordinated inland navigation, etc.)
  • Enable changing demands for maritime transport from the logistics sector (sustainable maritime procurement, real time cargo status visibility, etc.)
  • Adopt new concepts like modularisation of cargo to achieve secure intermodality in transport (last-mile integration, IoT for Customs and security, etc.)
  • Offer attractive services to maritime tourism, cruisers and passenger ferries (port services to ships, crew and passengers, links to local tourism)
  • Adopt redefined roles of port governance within a European and global context.


Maritime transport is part of complex logistics chains and transport networks where ports are key nodes linking maritime and hinterland logistics. Therefore, maritime transport and ports are not isolated and their challenges are those of the logistics and transport system.

The waterborne sector should play a lead role in the integration of maritime and hinterland logistics. The development of the maritime container is an example of this lead position in the past that brought this integration to a higher level through standardisation in an intermodal transport chain.

The logistics sector is facing the new challenges of the logistics and transport global system (characterised by capacity, efficiency, environmental, social and security concerns) through the development of new concepts like the physical internet that involve innovations in modularisation, collaboration schemes, robotisation and artificial intelligence and other IT technologies. This requires a new jump on the integration of maritime and hinterland logistics where the waterborne sector and ports should keep a leading position.

The European waterborne sector should identify and develop different lines of research and innovations in order to keep this leadership for the integration of maritime and hinterland logistics and contribute to reach the vision of the future.


c/o SEA Europe, Rue de la Loi, 67 (4th floor), Brussels B-1000, Belgium

Tel. +32 2 230 2791

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