The Smart Port Manifesto was written in 2020 to redefine the definition of a Smart Port and provide a set of common values and principles that any port can implement. 

What is a Smart Port?

A Smart Port equips the workforce with the relevant skills and technology to solve the unique internal and external challenges of the organisation, and to facilitate the movement of goods, delivery of services and smooth flow of information.

Using a holistic approach, the Smart Port achieves results without creating new challenges internally or elsewhere in the supply chain eco-system.

The Smart Port minimises the negative impacts of its activities on the natural environment and enhances the surrounding communities - economically and socially.

The material benefits of chosen technologies allow the Smart Port to: -

  • Improve efficiency to gain competitive advantage

  • Increase business resilience to economic shocks or disruptive forces

  • Extract maximum value from physical assets

  • Develop new revenue streams based on digital value propositions

  • Increase employee engagement and wellbeing

  • Achieve and exceed environmental commitments


Smart Port Values

We work together to deliver greater value from our organisation to the supply chain and the communities we serve.  In doing so we have come to value: -

  • People:  We empower our people with the technology and skills to perform meaningful work that enhances our individual and collective performance in a safe and secure environment

  • Collaboration: We collaborate with each other, and with customers, communities, suppliers, partners, industry colleagues, government and academia to advance towards our individual and common goals

  • Culture of Change: We embrace change and seek out the opportunities it brings.  We accept change at all levels - from our business processes to our strategic direction.  We review and adapt regularly to ensure that we are always moving in the right direction

  • Positive Impact: Our individual progress does not come at the expense of others.  We consider the impacts of our actions on our people, collaborators, customers, the environment and the communities we serve

Smart Port Principles

The Smart Port is committed to delivering positive, enduring change through the use of technology.  These eight principles create an environment for successful technology and business change.

Leaders Create Success

Smart Port Executives and Senior Management Teams openly advocate the use of relevant technology to solve business problems, and support technology driven change in the business.  Clear technology driven strategic objectives provide definitive guidance for the use of technology in the delivery of the Smart Port.  Leaders create a compelling narrative and communicate downwards.  Employees amplify the message.

Employee Engagement is a Fundamental Requirement for Success

The Smart Port engages with employees at every stage of the journey. Employees clearly understand the future state of the business and their role within it. The Smart Port equips employees with the knowledge and skills required for success.

Always Understand The Problem First

The Smart Port focuses on understanding the root cause of the business problem, in order to select the correct solution. Although the Smart Port is committed to the use of technology, it also recognises that on some occasions, people or process may be the problem.


Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

The Smart Port recognises that the industry is subject to continual evolution and turbulent political, economic and social influences. It is comfortable with change and committed to re-imagining every aspect of the operating model in response to the changing environment. Similarly, the Smart Port recognises that technology may radically change existing business processes, or require new people and new skills.

It has a clear understanding of the current technology position, a target state, and a flexible, high level plan to deliver the future operating model (including contingencies for all possibilities, however unlikely).

As a flexible organisation, it implements mechanisms to continually evaluate every aspect of the business and the supporting plan. Where port activities or projects are no longer consistent with requirements or areas of new opportunity emerge, the Smart Port evaluates and, if appropriate, redirects efforts to ensure that it is always progressing in the right direction.

Decisions Must Be Evidence Based

All strategic and operational decision making processes are supported by data. There is no place for gut-feel, instinct, or intuition. No data? No decision.

Integration Is Key To Efficient Service

The Smart Port is deeply integrated with all actors involved in port and supply chain activities to facilitate the seamless electronic exchange of information. Timely communication is fundamental to the efficient flow of transport and goods through ports, and effective delivery of services to customers.

Innovation Creates Competitive Advantage

The Smart Port continually evaluates new technologies to understand the value proposition and gain competitive advantage.  The Smart Port undertakes rapid testing and pilot projects to assess the suitability and implications of new technology on the business and other stakeholders.  The Smart Port expects trials to fail, but conducts in a way that successful pilots are followed by rapid adoption throughout the business to maintain an industry-leading position.

The Three Pillars of Sustainability are Interwoven 

The Smart Port recognises that long term sustainability of the business is dependent on the long term health of the planet and the commitment and capabilities of the people undertaking the activities. The Smart Port measures and understands the effects of port activities at a local level, and collaborates with all stakeholders to understand the external effects.

While financial return is essential for the short term continuation of the business, the Smart Port accepts that some benefits of technology may not immediately manifest in the profit pillar, nor in the short term.

When building a business case for technology, the Smart Port looks beyond arbitrary short-term financial cycles to consider the effects of less tangible long term returns in the People and Planet pillars that create a stable platform for growth and sustainability.

The Smart Port recognises that positive impacts in the People and Planet sustainability pillars will ultimately deliver positive results in the Profit pillar.

Sustainability Goals

In recent times, the word "Sustainability" has come to be most commonly associated with the effects of our activity on the natural environment.  All businesses should mitigate their impact on the environment to ensure a long term future.  But what about the other two pillars of business sustainability?  We're talking about people and profit, of course.

People icon (1).png
Planet icon (1).png
Profit icon (1).png

According to Peter Drucker, a business is a social group that differs from other social groups in only one way - a business must have customers.  Ports and terminals rely on the performance of people to attract customers.  Like any other business, they must be profitable to survive.


The Smart Port works to effect positive change at a local level.  Collectively, the efforts of Smart Ports contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals designed by the United Nations to advance society, protect the environment and improve global economic prosperity.

To find out how Smart Ports can use technology to achieve business sustainability objectives and support the the journey towards the achievement of these goals and a better global society, download our e-book Manifesto: Defining the Smart Port