The firm developed its Marlin SmartPort software with Scottish Enterprise grant support and used Montrose Port Authority as a test-bed to refine technology that could transform the efficiency, safety and sustainability of ports and harbours.
The migration to ION’s digital solution took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and Marlin SmartPort has also maintained business continuity and remote working for the port.
Scottish Enterprise has supported ION over a number of years and the recent grant enables the company’s Edinburgh-based software group to complete its next phase of technology development that enables better management of marine traffic and berth allocations.
Senior Vice President of ION’s Edinburgh-based Software group Stuart Darling said: “Our software solutions are renowned for optimising operations offshore and there is a great opportunity to bring that to the port environment as we further enhance our software.
“The introduction to Montrose Port Authority and support from Scottish Enterprise has been invaluable. We have direct insight into the port’s operational environment to develop our software, and in return, it is great to see a positive impact on a Scottish business.
“Building on this experience, we are now engaging with port community stakeholders from a number of countries and discussing opportunities for Marlin SmartPort to optimise port operations globally.”
Montrose Port Authority is a leading support and service hub for the energy industry as well as the general cargo market and has undergone an extensive programme of upgrades in recent years as part of its wider masterplan.
CEO of Montrose Port Authority Tom Hutchison said: “The exciting move to ‘Marlin SmartPort’ is a major leap forward for Montrose Port Authority replacing highly manual port operation procedures with an efficient, integrated digital system.
“The port is renowned for its ability to adapt easily to vessel requirements, but the new software really propels us to the forefront of the market, ideally aligned with our recent quayside redevelopment and the new landmark contract with SSE Renewables.
“The project also supports our ambitions to become Scotland’s greenest port.”
Director of National Opportunities at Scottish Enterprise David Smith welcomed the digital project and said: “The innovation shown by companies such as ION to diversify and develop solutions for port and harbour operators really highlights that Scottish companies are at the forefront of digital transformation.
“The Marlin SmartPort project will benefit the environment as well as the wider business of the Port in Montrose as vessels can optimise fuel emissions so it supports our targets of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
“The technology deployed in Montrose aims to address a global marine market and it is fantastic the digital switch over that started in Scotland could spark ideas for projects across many industries.”