Edinburgh software firm ION Geo aims to make ports smarter, safer and greener, starting in Montrose: MPA-6

28 May 2020

Edinburgh software firm ION Geo aims to make ports smarter, safer and greener, starting in Montrose

ION Geo is a global software firm with a base in Edinburgh and has transformed manual operations at Montrose Port Authority with its Marlin™ SmartPort optimisation software and recently completed a full digital switchover.

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.”

Contact Information

Notes to editors

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.

Follow us on Twitter at  http://twitter.com/scotent and https://twitter.com/ScotEntNews 

Follow us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/scottish-enterprise/ 

Scottish Enterprise provided a Research and Development grant of £336k to ION Geophysical as part of its approved projects for 2019/20 and in fitting with the values within its strategic framework.


Leveraging innovative technologies, ION delivers powerful data-driven decision-making to offshore energy, ports enabling clients to optimize operations and deliver superior returns.  Learn more at iongeo.com


ION (Investor relations)

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Mike Morrison, +1 281.552.3011


ION (Media relations)

Vice President, Communications

Rachel White, +1 281.781.1168



Montrose Port Authority (MPA) is a leading support and service hub for the North Sea energy industry. Offering around 1000 meters on both the north and south side of the harbour, the quayside provides a sheltered haven almost half a mile long.

With water berths to a depth of 8m, open storage and over 40,000 sq metres of warehouse and office space, MPA is the port of choice for key oil and gas suppliers, and the growing offshore renewables and decommissioning sectors.

The quayside is fully equipped to provide full support for project work from chain and anchor inspections to decommissioning activities and offshore wind projects. One of its key attributes is its excellent track record in mooring systems; storing and handling more than any other port in Europe.

MPA’s management team is dedicated to its customers, providing individual attention, competitive pricing, efficient loading and unloading with a 24-hour service.