Tuesday, 26 November 2019 09:40

Digital solutions and strong private sector involvement for cleaner shipping

Written by  "Cohesion through EUSBSR" project

“When implementing digital solutions, one cuts a lot of waste and saves resources. It acts as the most important tool to develop clean shipping”, Milla Harju explains.

Harju works as Project Manager in ECOPRODIGI, a project addressing the economic and environmental demands maritime industry faces today. The project has also one very unique feature that few projects have: a strong private sector involvement. “This has been project’s asset from the very beginning when ECOPRODIGI was still just an idea because it was the partners contributing with their experiences and remarks in the application process. They knew the bottle necks and could suggest what kind of a project is actually needed to enhance clean shipping in the region”, Harju elaborates.  


“The industry has showed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in building a cleaner shipping industry”

“We all have our own interests but we are all very passionate about developing eco-efficient solutions for shipping. And, to be honest, realising this was quite a surprise to me, as maritime industry is considered very conservative and slow to adapt to new solutions. This turned out to be incorrect”, Harju tells when asking about working with ECOPRODIGI. “It was just a matter of time, someone always has to take the first leap and leads the way to others. The industry has showed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in building a cleaner shipping industry, and why wouldn’t since they see what is happening to the sea, and their livelihood and its future is dependent on the condition of the Baltic Sea.”




Project work at its best in concrete problem solving

ECOPRODIGI has 21 partners each excelling in their own field. But the magic truly happens when they all come together. One example of this is from a recent workshop where one project partner shared some problems they had encountered with 3D scanning and cleaning the data. And with so many experts gathered in one place, it turned out that someone in the room had already a solution to the problem, and thanks to sharing of knowledge the partner ended up saving hours and hours of work. "This was the moment when I realized how amazing our project is: it concretely solves problems and bottle necks."


More policy impact through EUSBSR Flagship status

“We are very proud of the Flagship status! In practice, the status has provided us a lot of help from the EUSBSR Policy Area Ship when it comes to communications and networking with other projects. As a Flagship, we also benefit from the good contacts the EUSBSR Coordinators have with different actors”, Harju says.  

Close contacts with EUSBSR Policy Area Coordinators are useful also for reaching out to policy makers. One of ECOPRODIGI’s goals is to impact policy making, particularly when the project works with digitalization, a relatively new concept in maritime industry. Many of the topics haven’t even been addressed on policy level. Issues such as international data sharing, withdrawing data from different actors, data protection related policies will be the main policies addressed.

“If we want ECOPRODIGI solutions to be implemented further, users need to be able to rely on the process and that the implementation is possible without experiencing any negative surprises”, Harju reminds.

“By saving resources you are saving money”

“I would see that in the future, the maritime industry contributes to the regeneration of natural resources in the Baltic Sea region. At the moment, maritime industry is mainly consuming resources and causing emissions. But we are slowly moving to zero emission ships, and hopefully all the way to ships that clean the sea, collect energy and having a net positive impact to the environment”, Harju envisions the future of maritime industry.

How about ECOPRODIGI’s role in this vision? “ECOPRODIGI is contributing to the great wave of digitalization in maritime industry. I hope that we are serving as a great example to the rest of the industry, and seeing that cutting down emissions is not that difficult, and actually by saving resources you are saving money. So it is a win-win situation“, Harju concludes.  


ECOPRODIGI in a nutshell:

  • Increases eco-efficiency in the Baltic Sea region maritime sector by creating and piloting digital solutions
  • Works in close cooperation between industry end-users and research organisations
  • 27 partners from eight Baltic Sea region countries
  • An EUSBSR Flagship project under Policy Area Ship
  • Project duration 2017 - 2020
  • Funded by Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme




The article is part of an European Union funded project "Cohesion through EUSBSR" promoting positive results of EU Cohesion policy in the Baltic Sea macro-region (EUSBSR). 

The article reflects only the author's view and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. 


With financial support from the European Union




Read 2931 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 November 2019 09:29