Presentation of the Institutional Chair in Artificial Intelligence Applied to Ports "AI Santander Port".

20 Apr 2023

Presentation of the Institutional Chair in Artificial Intelligence Applied to Ports "AI Santander Port".

This initiative aims to respond to the modernization requirements of the port logistics sector, as well as, in particular, to stimulate and facilitate the digital transformation of the Port of Santander and its logistics community.

The agreement, signed by the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP), the University of Cantabria (UC), the Environmental Hydraulics Institute Foundation of Cantabria (FIHAC), Nextport and the Port Authority of Santander (APS), will have an initial duration of four years.

Santander 19/04/2023.  The president of the APS, Francisco Martín; the rector of the UC, Ángel Pazos; the rector of UIMP, Carlos Andradas; the vice president of FIHAC, Raúl Medina and the founding partner and technical director of NextPort by Moffat & Nichol, Óscar Pernía, have presented this afternoon at the headquarters of the APS the Institutional Chair in Artificial Intelligence Applied to Ports "AI Santander Port".

The objective of this initiative is to promote the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and associated technologies in ports, especially in Santander, to boost its digital transformation, as well as to act as an engine for the transition of these infrastructures towards a sustainable and competitive mobility. In the same vein, the Chair, the result of an agreement between the five entities, aims to position itself in 2026, the horizon of the term of the agreement, as an accredited national and international "knowledge operator" in the fields of training, research and application of AI and its associated technologies to the logistics-port sector.

Within its strategic design, the mission of the Chair will have two essential tasks. On the one hand, to act as a factory of ideas capable of analyzing the technological challenges of ports, generating debate, anticipating changes and proposing solutions and, on the other, to attract talent and provide it with the necessary knowledge, competencies and skills in AI to promote innovative actions in the port sector, devise solutions in the port value chain and successfully manage the implementation of AI in the port sector and its logistics chains.

For the president of the APS, Francisco Martin, the development of this Chair is "essential for the future of the port and its proper transition towards its final conversion into a Smart Port" since, "although AI is now behind the automation of many port services and operations, there is still much to be done in these and other fields" such as environmental sustainability, energy transition or security. According to Martín, "this initiative places us as pioneers in knowledge management and research in AI applied to ports, which is a unique opportunity to position ourselves in a privileged place within the logistics sector".

For Carlos Andradas, rector of the UIMP, "this Chair is another step in the long history of collaboration between the UIMP and the Port of Santander. If we also add the presence of the University of Cantabria and the theme: the AI applied to port management, the result is a project that excites and stimulates us all". Andradas added that A.I. "is one of the technological advances that are changing and will change our society even more. From the academic institutions we have the obligation to be at the forefront in teaching and research in AI to ensure its use for the benefit of all". "In our case, to improve and streamline the management of ports and contribute to the Port of Santander gaining more and more importance and presence on the international scene," concluded the rector of the UIMP.

Similarly, the rector of the UC, Angel Pazos explained that the UC is an "agent of knowledge with functions of teaching, research and transfer", so the role of this University will consist, on the one hand, "to be one of the agents with clear responsibility in terms of teaching activities such as courses or degrees that then have the necessary recognition" and, secondly, as a producer of science through the Institute of Physics of Cantabria, in "generating knowledge and transfer".

Also, the vice president of FIHAC, Raul Medina highlights "the uniqueness of this initiative at national level, which responds to a clear social demand, under the triple helix model of innovation". Thus, the collaboration between the public administration, through the Port Authority of Santander; the knowledge sector, represented by two universities and a research center specialized, among other sectors, in the management of intelligent ports; and the industry, through a highly internationalized company, "make the project a model of guaranteed success".

The partner-founder and technical director of NextPort by Moffatt & Nichol, Óscar Pernía, emphasizes that "AI provides the capabilities that the Maritime-Port Industry needs to be more efficient, safe, sustainable and resilient, also responding to challenges such as climate change or the decarbonization of transport". According to Pernía, "however, AI requires fundamental considerations regarding organizational schemes and the necessary training to enable its practical application, making it inclusive with People, who will continue to be key elements for the management of Change", emphasizing the motivation of the Chair for the "generation and dissemination of knowledge in this regard, with a differential approach to create added value from public-private collaboration". For Moffatt & Nichol this Chair means a fundamental investment for the future of our Group, to accelerate our efforts in our Artificial Intelligence product from Spain but with international reach.

The activities of the Chair, which will be based at FIHAC and Faro de la Cerda, will be divided into three lines of action: teaching, research and innovation and dissemination. Among others, it is worth mentioning the teaching of its own degrees, collaboration with postgraduate programs aimed at doctorates, the organization of courses and conferences, the promotion of internships, support for graduate, expert specialist and master's degree projects, and the publication of publications.

One of its first actions will be the celebration of the Meeting "Do Ports Dream of Automatic Bots? Adoption and Use of Artificial Intelligence Technologies in Ports", which will take place on September 6 at the UIMP.