The Port of Rotterdam Authority and Municipality of Rotterdam have jointly launched a field lab for the development of applications and solutions based on blockchain technology.
Called BlockLab, the initiative is supported by the regional development corporation InnovationQuarter and was jointly opened by Allard Castelein, president and CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Maarten Struijvenberg, deputy mayor of Rotterdam for economic affairs, and Rinke Zonneveld, director of InnovationQuarter.
“There’s this huge buzz about blockchain, but actually, there aren’t that many fully functional applications,” said Struijvenberg. “We’ll be changing this with BlockLab. This is important, because we need real innovations to launch the next economy. And blockchain can help us realize them.”
As an example, blockchain can allow users to set up a finely meshed decentralized power network, in which companies can trade residual heat and city dwellers can trade electricity, giving new impetus to the energy transition in the port and the city.
“This alone makes it very interesting to us,” said Castelein. “But I’m also thinking of the numerous applications that can be realized within logistics chains thanks to blockchain, allowing us to organize cargo flows more efficiently. This step is seamlessly in line with our ‘smartest port’ ambitions.”
One of the first concrete projects to be presented during the official opening was a blockchain application for stock financing in the port logistics sector, which was developed in partnership with Exact and ABN AMRO.
The core BlockLab team consists of five people working from the Cambridge Innovation Center in Rotterdam. The lab will also serve as a knowledge centre for the regional private sector and the team will be working together with the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences to develop a curriculum intended to attract new blockchain researchers, according to the Port of Rotterdam.