Port Activity App boosts the efficiency of port flow

Fintraffic VTS has a strong role in developing Port Activity App, which replaces outdated services and offers a new port community platform. The aim is to encourage other countries around the Baltic Sea to join the ecosystem.
Fintraffic VTS

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Fintraffic’s Vessel Traffic Services provides vessel traffic services to merchant shipping and other marine traffic and maintains safety radio operations. VTS monitors maritime traffic 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Its mission is to ensure safe and smooth maritime traffic and to protect the marine environment. As part of this, Fintraffic VTS aims to accelerate the development of automation and digitization in the industry.


Lack of information leads to inefficiencies

As part of the EU-funded STM EfficientFlow project started in 2018, the project partners – Swedish Maritime Administration, Finnish Transport Agency (now Fintraffic VTS), Ports of Gävle and Rauma and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences – investigated the information flow and communication between different actors in ports.

Soon it was clear that daily port operations were still managed manually, despite heavy investments to digitalization. Manual processes and one-to-one messages were causing inefficiencies to ports because of the lack of information, data, and communication. Every actor had their own IT systems that didn’t work well together.

From the beginning, Fintraffic VTS had a strong role in developing the STM concept further. The project organized a public tender for the development of a port activity application. Unikie won the competition and was awarded the contract to implement the application, the first generation of Port Activity App.


From EU project to commercial application

The idea was simple: let’s integrate existing data sources into one system. Let’s create one centralized place for up-to-date situational awareness data. The STM EfficientFlow project succeeded nicely and in late 2020 Fintraffic VTS decided to continue developing and commercializing the application with the support of Unikie.

“The pilot version of Port Activity App was developed in cooperation with the Ports of Rauma and Gävle. However, we quickly noticed that there’s high demand for this kind of service, as the app started spreading to other ports on a need-driven basis.”

Oli Soininen

Fintraffic VTS found that Port Activity App could be used as a replacement for outdated VTS Allied services. At the same time, it was noted that the Port Activity App could be an efficient way to provide a new digitization and port community platform for Finnish ports. Fintraffic wanted to enable the application to be widely deployed by offering it to Finnish ports and supporting further development. Unikie is happy to continue developing the service under Fintraffic’s direction.


Port Activity App boosts the efficiency of the entire logistics chain

Port Activity App brings together all information needed by port call actors. Now your mobile follows you everywhere and gives you notifications when your action is needed. In an efficient port, the online information will replace most phone calls and emails. The app can generate considerable savings in terms of both time, money and emissions. For example, it informs users of any potential schedule changes to avoid long waiting times.

“The port application provides one centralized place for vessel and port operation data for all parties on land and at sea. Joint situational awareness with accurate up-to-date data makes daily operations easier for everyone, bringing efficiency and cost savings.”

Laptop and smartphone screenshots of Unikie Port Flow Optimization

Fintraffic also makes data available via API’s. In Finland, a lot of maritime data is made publicly available through Fintraffic’s Digitraffic service which contains, among other things, vessels’ scheduled port calls to Finnish ports. This data is presented, combined with other data, and visualized in a user-friendly way in the Port Activity App. Consequently, we have already seen great contributions to further development, innovating ideas and speeding up the digitalization process in the maritime world.

In 2021, Fintraffic and Unikie lauched a Software-as-a-Service version of Port Activity App first in Finland, where ports can join the SaaS solution free of charge, and later also in Sweden. The service has already expanded to most ports in Finland, and it is used also in Sweden. The aim is to encourage other countries around the Baltic Sea to start using the app.

Fintraffic VTS is constantly further developing the platform together with Unikie based on requirements and wishes we get directly from ports. The service has also an own steering board to collect comments and improvement ideas and discuss data security and future roadmap.

“From Fintraffic VTS' point of view, the port application is an ecosystem, an environment for co-creation where we publish open data and where new operating models can be developed together with the users. Every port joined in Port Activity App is invited to join our steering group to further develop the service and learn from others. With Unikie, continuous development work and implementations have been extremely fast and effective."