Port Of Copenhagen Photo Thomas Sjørup

Smart and Green Ports

We provide multi-disciplinary planning and engineering consultancy services to port operators, owners and authorities wanting to realise the potential of smart and green technology in their ports and terminals.

The solutions offered for green and smart ports are numerous and developing all the time. Many of our specialists are leading experts in their fields, providing the latest in trusted bespoke advice to our clients. We are dedicated to providing a best in class service and in this regard we have built up a network of specialist partners to perfectly complement our strong in-house offering.

We provide our clients with access to world class expertise in the development of smart and green technology, which varies from specialist providers of port equipment, such as smart electronic plant, to unique services such as laser scanning of port structures. All this forms part of an integrated plan, which ranges from expert port data analytics to software providers, as well as future planning in the form of smart and green ports masterplans. In short, we deliver all solutions to realise a port’s sustainable potential.

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NS Ports Visualisation (12)

Smart and Green Port Masterplans

We work collaboratively with our clients and their stakeholders to integrate the planning and adoption of green and smart port technology into the port’s main masterplan. We thereby secure a single, holistic plan for the future development of the port.

The importance of developing a standard port masterplan is widely understood and recognised, ensuring that planned development is in line with long term port projections, giving a valid roadmap for discussion with investors, consultants and customers. We add further value to this process, integrating both short and long term development for smart and green ports.

Best use of investment capital

It can be difficult for ports to identify where investment capital is best placed in their development towards recognition as a green or smart port. The larger scale, longer term, highly visual and marketable smart port elements such as automation tend to attract the most attention, but there are numerous more achievable smart port solutions that can be readily adopted now, some with little initial capital investment.

Without a cohesive plan, the development of smart ports, green ports, and their associated data handling and security are liable to be made based upon personal interests or experience. This can result in less advantageous technologies being implemented, as well as technological implementation on an ad-hoc basis, without due regard to future developments.

At NIRAS, we pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to develop smart and / or green port masterplans which overcome the issues above, ensuring the best use of a port’s available investment capital.

Collaboration is key to planning

We believe that collaborative development of green and smart port masterplans is crucial to gain maximum benefit from the process. We work in partnership with our clients and their stakeholders to achieve this, providing a single, holistic plan for the future of the port. Depending on a port’s existing masterplan status, we can either prepare a new full masterplan study, or create an addendum to an existing masterplan that has been previously prepared.

World leading service in development of smart / green port masterplans

We combine our decades of experience in port masterplanning with our world leading smart and green ports consultancy services to provide innovative responses to the challenges our clients face. We provide plans that not only give short term “easy wins”, but also develop the roadmap and vision for the future, integrating short term implementation of technologies with a plan for adoption of future technologies in the medium to long term.

This approach ensures that technology implemented now can act as an enabler for future development and avoids it quickly becoming obsolete.

Integrating this with the port’s main masterplan allows us to design and envisage the physical changes to the port as a result of future technology and ensure that appropriate future allowance is made now, to allow easy adoption of new technology in the future.

Smart and Green Ports

Realising your sustainable potential

Digital Port Asset Management COMPRESSED

Digital Asset Management

We advise our clients on Digital Asset Management solutions tailored for their individual circumstances and can prepare development plans to achieve these goals as part of a smart port masterplan.

Digital Asset Management can bring many advantages to a port, such as reducing downtime, increasing efficiency, and reducing insurance premiums.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) can be defined as “The Digitisation and/or Digitalisation of the Asset Management Process”.

Cutting edge survey technology and data acquisition

DAM can vary from a simple digital record of the port’s assets to a detailed IoT Asset Management Tool used to proactively track and manage the port’s equipment, structures and infrastructure.

This in turn allows for targeted, proactive scheduling of maintenance activities to reduce disruption to daily operations and asset downtime.

With our expert team of staff and partners focussing on digital solutions for the marine environment, we bring cutting edge survey technology and data acquisition together with specialist marine engineering expertise to provide our clients with a holistic approach to lifecycle monitoring of their vital assets.

  • Digitisation of existing Asset Management process
  • Laser Scanning, Bathymetry and Photogrammetry
  • Derivation of fully integrated, geolocated 3D models of assets both above and below the waterline
  • Use of digital models to prepare designs of complex capital works on structures with no existing “as-built” data
  • Air and sea-bound drone surveys
  • Capacity and condition reviews of a port’s assets
  • Derivation of an asset management plan
  • Preparation of digital twins as an asset management tool
  • Digitalisation of defect and maintenance management process
  • Training and support for our clients to utilise the digital tools themselves

Simulation Modelling

NIRAS utilises highly specialised simulation software to build precise and predictive models of ports ensuring that our clients can make informed decisions. Our simulation models can review, identify and remove bottlenecks in existing operations. They can also review future development alternatives to give our clients the best solutions for their facilities.

When a port is looking to expand or upgrade its facility, the decisions made during the design phase are critical to the future operations. Correcting errors at a later stage can be costly and disruptive, therefore the ability to foresee and solve any potential problems at design stage is very advantageous.

Highly specialised simulation software

Our highly specialised simulation software builds precise and predictive models of ports to allow our clients to make informed decisions. Our simulation models can also identify and help remove bottlenecks in operations, giving our clients confidence that the best solution for their facility is developed.

One of the benefits of a simulation model is that it is not a one-off. Once the model has been built, verified and used to optimise the port’s operations, the same model can be used again during the ramp-up/commissioning phase and also during future operational reviews.

During the commissioning phase, the simulation model can be loaded with the current performance, cargo and the expected ramp-up curves of the port’s operations.

Simulation tools create realistic expectations

Our simulation tools facilitate creation of realistic performance expectations, planning workforce requirements and anticipating throughput capacities, thus enabling mitigating actions before problems occur.

During regular operations, the model can be integrated with terminal operating systems and IoT devices to create a live, real time digital twin. In this instance, the single model can be used to predict the impact from equipment maintenance, purchase of new equipment, and changes to cargo schedules, for example.

Global expertise in simulation models

In addition to ports, we have prepared simulation models globally for a wide range of clients and uses. This includes manufacturing, automated underground parking facilities, sterile hospital equipment process plants, automated hospital logistics, clinical hospital processes, mixed road construction traffic, and people flow in buildings with elevators.

We bring our global expertise across all these sectors to the ports industry to provide a best in class service, tailored to our client’s needs.

1194430859 NS 09214 Photo Thomas Sjørup (6)

Data Analytics

NIRAS’ Data Analytics specialists create value for our port clients based on our industry leading knowledge of machine learning, data lakes, linked data, and Business Intelligence (BI), as well as ground breaking new digital technologies. We work with data in any format and provide optimisations such as automatic routines to extract data from
existing systems.

Data Analytics and the term “Big Data” can seem overwhelming and only relate to highly detailed and expensive analysis. However, data solutions do not have to be overly complicated and packed with buzzwords. At NIRAS we are expert users and developers of machine learning, data lakes, linked data, BI, and all the ground breaking digital technologies. Our aim is always to provide the best possible solutions for our clients, whether they are highly complex or just a further development of a good Excel solution.

We can create value from all kinds of data

The everyday operation of most ports is increasingly dependent on the use of data. The data can be generated, stored and displayed in many shapes and formats. It might be an Excel sheet on a network drive, third party software, sensors, PDFs, databases, homepages. or even a simple paper based system or just hand written documents. We are happy to work with data in any format and provide optimisations, potentially including automatic routines to extract data from existing systems and reconnect them again.

Collaborative Development

We prefer to develop solutions within our client’s context. All our solutions are developed in close cooperation with both our clients and our in-house port operation experts. Wherever possible we strive to not introduce new systems, but extract data from existing systems as they look today.

This secures the best possible fit to our client’s needs and requirements as well as minimising disruption to ongoing operations.


  • Extract,Transform and Load (ETL)
  • Automated report generation
  • Power BI dashboards
  • Advanced Excel solutions
  • Machine Learning
  • Advice on data outcomes
  • Client Centric Empowerment
  • Explore your data on a map
Port Of Copenhagen Photo Thomas Sjørup

Green Energy Transition

We are world experts in wind and solar energy and in utilising biomass such as straw, wood chips, waste and biogas replacing fossil fuels for the production of steam, hot water, chilled water, and electricity. Our expertise encompasses all aspects of the transition from fossil to non-fossil energy production.

With over 30 years of experience, we are the frontrunners of this energy transformation in terms of expertise, experience, and capabilities. Along with our rich heritage, we are at the forefront of developments in new technologies.

Within this space, we have successfully delivered numerous district heating and cooling projects where waste heat from industrial processes and sewerage treatment plants is being recovered for district heating or conversely, waste heat from cooling purposes is recovered by use of heat pump solutions (electrical, absorption) and utilised for adjacent industrial facilities.

Unfolding enormous energy potential in ports

The possibilities for utilisation in a port environment are enormous, but also manageable. The changes can be started with just simple alterations to existing processes such as the installation of solar panels on an office roof and built from there. We provide assistance throughout the project development phases.

This includes everything from planning, pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies, environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments, technical design, project management and procurement, to supervision of construction sites.

We boast vast experience in many renewable energy technologies, which allows us to tailor the correct green energy transition to each client’s environment, budget and aspirations.


  • Solar PV and solar thermal
  • Co-generation based on waste
  • Hydrogen
  • Biofuels through power-to-x, carbon capture and storage
  • Heat pump systems
  • On and offshore wind energy
  • Biomass or biogas
  • Waste-to-energy
  • Thermal energy storage
  • District heating and cooling systems


Specialist Support Services

We deliver dedicated and impartial consultancy services on a wide range of specific smart and green solutions that can make a real positive impact on a port’s operation.

Our clients can draw on our ample in-house expertise, supplemented with a global network of partnerships with specialist suppliers.

Below is outlined an exemplar range of the dedicated technologies that we can assist our clients with. However, this list is non-exhaustive and we are happy to advise our clients in the acquisition of all forms of smart and green technology.

  • LED Lighting
  • Electrification of Port Equipment
  • Smart Mooring Systems
  • Automatic Numberplate Recognition Systems
  • Wireless / Local Networks
  • Automated Terminal Operation Systems
  • IoT Sensors
  • Shoreside Power
  • Equipment Fleet Management Systems
  • Cyber Security Consultancy

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Adam Sharp

Adam Sharp


Ascot, United Kingdom

Andrew Walker

Andrew Walker


Edinburgh, United Kingdom

+44 770 370 5395