Hack the Port created new digital solution ideas for the port

DigiPort project organized the Hack the Port hackathon in Mussalo Port, Kotka, 9-11 April. Hackathon is a problem-solving event where teams of students try to develop new, innovative solutions to the challenges of everyday life. The theme of Hack the Port was to streamline port operations through digitalization and open data.

There were 20 participants and they were divided into five teams. Students represented different training programs. There were students from computer networks, cyber security, construction and service design as well as a sea captain student. Through multidisciplinarity, it is possible to combine different kinds of expertise, which can lead to “outside the box” solutions

The event was opened on Tuesday morning at 9.4. by mrs. Eija Rossi, Commercial Director of HaminaKotka Satama Oy, at the Merituuli office center of the port of Mussalo.

Eija Rossi introduced port company operations and role, and emphasized the need for new ideas and solutions in the port industry.

After the opening, there was an observation tour in the port area of ​​Mussalo. On the tour, the teams saw in concrete terms what was happening in the port and heard the views of different actors. At the same time, they had the opportunity to ask questions. The tour started with a general introduction by Ville Kuitunen of HaminaKotka Satama Oy, after which VR Transpoint Oy’s Jani Liikanen told about the organization and challenges of rail traffic in the port. The next step was the container terminal, where Steveco Oy’s Mikko Raki introduced container operations and the underlying information systems. Finally, we visited the liquid harbor where Suvi-Tuuli Lappalainen from Oiltanking Finland Oy introduced chemical operations and safety issues.

Ville Kuitunen, Sales Manager of HaminaKotka Satama Oy, began a tour with a general presentation of the Mussalo port area on the roof terrace of the Merituuli office center

After lunch, teams were presented with pre-defined challenges:
1. Developing port digital situational awareness
2. Streamlining port traffic through digitalization
3. Digitalization of port security
4. Risk analysis of the port’s open data sources
5. Open challenge

To solve the challenges, students had been provided with various background materials such as links to open data guides and databases, and research data from the DigiPort project workshops in spring 2018 in Kotka and Turku.

Work started at the Merituuli office center was continued in the Villa Aava in the nearby Santalahti Resort. Teams worked overnight and the day changed on Wednesday 10.4. At noon, the teams spread apart to finish their work independently.

Thursday morning 11.4. they met in the center of Kotka in XAMK Xlab. Teams were offered pitch training for a smooth and interesting presentation of solution ideas. Teams were also able to practice in front of the test jury. On the basis of the feedback received from them, the teams finished their final performances.

In the afternoon, the actual pitching and award ceremony took place. Hackathon jury included Research Director Maria Hänninen from Merikotka, Logistics Manager Olli-Pekka Brunila from XAMK, Sales Manager Ville Kuitunen from HaminaKotka Satama Oy and Project Manager Antti Viitanen from *ship Startup Festival.

Team PowerSquare was chosen as the winning team. Their idea was to streamline port road traffic by digitizing the driving instructions to the port. Moving around in the port area is often perceived as confusing and navigation may not be successful with standard navigation applications. At the moment, drivers are getting a paper map at the gate for instructions to deliver their cargo. In Team PowerSquare application, drivers are sent an e-mail with an information package that includes driving instructions and information about the area’s security arrangements and services.

Second came Team Jaa-a. Their solution was also related to traffic management by processing data from port entry gates and data from open road data sources. The goal is to avoid peaks and to ensure that the available capacity of the port area road network is not exceeded.

The third place was divided between two teams. The idea of ​​the “SH Double” team “Connecting Port People” brought a human-centered perspective on port digitalization. It was a construction of a new digital ecosystem for the port community. The Hak5 team’s output was a machine-vision-based traffic control and management solution.

The atmosphere of the award ceremony with Xlab.

Award-winning teams have the opportunity to refine their ideas and present them to mentors and funders at the *Ship Startup Festival.

The Baltic Seas International Maritime Conference: Call for Abstracts open


The Baltic Seas International Maritime Conference – European Maritime Research from Adriatic to Baltic will be held in Turku, September 24-25, 2019.

The conference, organized by the University of Turku, Kotka Maritime Research Centre and the University of Le Havre invites all interested participants from across the globe to submit papers or abstracts and present the latest scientific developments. Join and share the latest innovations and developments in maritime studies, technological advancements, sea borne logistics, and port operations. The event is a unique experience to exchange ideas and encourage collaboration with colleagues from academia.

The first day of the Conference is scientific. On the second day, Kotka Maritime Research Centre organizes an extra session which focuses on accidental spill risk management in the Baltic Sea and is aimed at professionals, academics and students.

All abstracts are single-blind peer reviewed and they should be 1 pages in length. Abstracts may be submitted to balticseas@utu.fi until 15th May 2019.

More information from the Conference leaflet


COMPLETE project at IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project Kick Off

The work of the COMPLETE project (www.balticcomplete.com) was represented by Dr. Annika Krutwa/Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Germany), among other recent initiatives at the regional and global level, at the IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project kick-off meeting in London on 18-20 March. COMPLETE activities for filling knowledge gaps constitute the basis for the development of a regional harmonized Baltic Sea management strategy on biofouling to minimize species introduction and spread and provide the knowledge basis for a Baltic Sea wide harmonization of processes. Global co-operation in required for facing the challenges in the management of biofouling and invasive alien species.

Follow the link to the briefing about the meeting here.


4-8 March 2019, Weymouth, England: COMPLETE partners participated in the ICES Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors (WGBOSV) and ICES/IOC/IMO Working Group on Introduction and Transfer of Marine Organisms (WGITMO) meetings. They presented and discussed the project progress at the international expert level, and received up-to-date information of the latest findings in the field of invasive alien species transported by maritime traffic.

Status of ports digitalization – report available

The digitalization of ports requires a lot of cooperation, as port communities are made up of numerous actors. Better sharing of information among port operators would streamline traffic and improve safety. In the future, port communities need to find ways and means to promote digitalization. Among other things, these themes are highlighted in the DigiPort project’s current state of the art of digitalization of Finnish ports. From this link to the report (in Finnish).


Gothenburg, Sweden, 13-14 December 2018. The status report of the COMPLETE project was presented at the 9th meeting of the Joint HELCOM/OSPAR Task Group on Ballast Water Management Convention Exemptions (HELCOM/OSPAR TG BALLAST). The COMPLETE project also presented the project output 3.1 “Advanced target species selection criteria”. The  proposed  selection  of  TS  is  based  on  all  pertinent prioritized and ranked values (potential to pose threat to human health, impact on economy, and environment)  and  on  the  IMO Guidelines on  risk  assessment  under  regulation  A-4 (G7).

The meeting documents and outcome can be found at the HELCOM meeting portal.

Research Director’s blog: Who are we?

Who are we?

On a rainy Monday in November, 29 persons from Merikotka network got together onboard M/S Viking XPRS to cross the Gulf of Finland and get to know each other and our research topics.

Many new persons have recently joined the network, and several researchers had wished for a chance to meet the others. By using a scheduled five-minute presentation template, all participants were able to describe who they are, what they are doing and how they would like to collaborate.

The day was intense and full of information. However, I felt that the gathering was very successful. In addition to meeting many new people myself, I was deeply impressed by the broad expertise Merikotka network contains. The research teams include engineers, social scientists, safety researchers, marine biologists, geographers, master mariners and fisheries scientists, for example. There are persons with several years of industry experience, recently graduated young scientists, distinguished academics, students, and project management & funding professionals. Experts on maritime transport and marine environment are accompanied by specialists applying methods or knowledge from other fields to the maritime problems.

Also, practical experience in areas such as leisure boating, road traffic, journalism and educational material can be found within Merikotka. And talk about the connections and networks of this international group of experts! I would argue that with all of this expertise and contacts, Merikotka could provide science-based information to support almost any maritime traffic related challenge or decision problem.

The mission of Merikotka is to conduct research for sustainable maritime transport. Solving maritime transport related research questions typically requires that multiple disciplines and experts are working together. However, interdisciplinary collaboration does not just happen but it needs common goals, good communication and motivation to solve the problem together.

In the researcher meeting, it was fascinating to observe how in the beginning the discussion was done in groups consisting of people from the same university or otherwise already familiar with each other, but as the day and presentations progressed, mingling with new people started to happen and new collaboration ideas popped up. Connections based on mutual methodology were also made: a person looking for guidance on Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation found someone who was able to help, and Bayesian network literature tips were shared to those asking for them. I have been happy to hear that the participants found the day useful and it has already resulted in new meetings.

I believe that the researcher meeting was small but significant step towards strengthening the interdisciplinary research and collaboration. This is a good basis on which to proceed!

Maria Hänninen
Research Director at Merikotka (Kotka Maritime Research Centre)