As ports encounter this unprecedented situation, greater use of digital tools has been part of the solution in an effort to maintain an efficient workflow.

At the same time, it takes slightly longer at the quayside when the new routines are being introduced. Even though a great deal of the work takes place remotely during the approach, once the vessel is at the quayside, a whole range of physical interactions are normally required between the crew and the dockworkers.

This could involve everything from inspecting the quality of the cargo to going through permits, safety checklists, and notices of readiness before loading or discharging.

We are in a vulnerable position and we are limiting on-board access to key individuals, such as pilots and service technicians. Fortunately, we can deal with most things using computer systems and email exchange even if it takes a little longer,

...said Johan Östlund, chief officer on board the vessel Ternvag.

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In this regard, added Dan-Erik Andersson, Chief Operating Officer at the Energy Port in Gothenburg, the port can become more efficient in the long run, by introducing new routines and new systems, and ensuring more tasks are carried out simultaneously rather than consecutively.

These remarks follow an increased interest by the Port of Gothenburg in digitalization and automation prior to COVID-19, including digital system Permesso, which has resulted in a significant reduction in administration and face-to-face contact when issuing work permits to contractors, as well as automatic gates for trucks and app for bunkering.

Malin Collin, Deputy CEO at the Gothenburg Port Authority, responsible for the digitalization process, states that extensive digital changes at the port will be introduced within the near future and could make a substantial difference.

We are currently examining how artificial intelligence can make use of historical data to predict events and speed up the decision-making process. We can improve planning through data-driven decisions, identifying trends, and predicting events. By doing so we can create a platform for more efficient freight flows and transport movements on land and at sea.