Morocco Smart Port Hackathon Attracts 500 Participants and Generates 70 Proposals

There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to Morocco’s first trade-focused hackathon held over December 2020 and January 2021, with the Smart Port Challenge 2020 generating more than 70 leading edge solutions to trade facilitation challenges.

The hackathon brought together experts, researchers, start-ups, businesses and students from over 30 countries in a milestone for collaboration and innovation in the port sector.

In collaboration with the Alliance, Morocco’s National Ports Agency (l’Agence Nationale des Ports or ANP) and the PortNet national single window trade initiative organized the Smart Port Challenge 2020 hackathon to harness collective knowledge and innovation to find disruptive solutions to challenges facing ports in Morocco.

Over 500 participants from around the world, including 70 experts and scientists, came together through 100 videoconferences and 26 webinars during the two months of the competition.

The hackathon jury selected three winning teams to pursue their ideas, with two of them dedicated to the challenge of streamlining trade logistics: the ‘Port Tech Payment’ project for incentivising electronic payments and the ‘Duck the Line’ project, which aims to automate the management of remote truck queues.

A third winner, the ‘Eco Wave Power’ team, proposed generating energy for some port operations by transforming wave power into electricity. The jury also highlighted the creativity of third-year students in the ‘Take Up Scout’ team from l’École Centrale de Casablanca who had focused on ways to accelerate port adoption of electronic payment technologies.

The recognition of all these participants highlights how hackathons can help lower both the direct and indirect hurdles that hamper trade facilitation and point to the enormous potential for tapping into the creativity of innovators, no matter who or where they are.

Given its initial success, the Smart Port Challenge initiative will continue in 2021, with a second edition to be announced soon.

Philippe Isler, Director, Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation said:
“The Alliance’s collaboration with Morocco’s ANP and PortNet on the Smart Port Challenge 2020 hackathon showed how we can mobilise the public and private sectors and truly unlock innovation in trade facilitation.

As this first hackathon concludes with overwhelming success, we congratulate the winners and thank all the participants. We look forward to seeing how their projects transform the future of Morocco’s port operations and maritime trade.”


Mohamed Benatik, IT manager at MARSA MAROC, Port of Casablanca and member of the jury:
Congratulations to all organisers and participants for concluding this first edition of the Smart Port Challenge. It has been an immense pleasure to be a part of it.

The hackathon created a space for creativity, exchange of ideas…a variety of projects that will bring real added value to the community.

It has also provided a competitive platform to start-ups, students, academics, and professionals to showcase their talents and use them for the good of the community. Congratulations to all the winners.

Frank Janssens, International expert on Trade Facilitation and Cross Border management and member of the jury:
To begin with, I would like to show my appreciation for the huge effort made by the organisers of the Smart Port Challenge.

As a participant I could see the amount of effort that went in assuring the quality of the event.

The organisation, the communication, the content, bringing on board young researchers, the team spirit, the inclusive approach…it was exceptional!

For me, the Smart Port Challenge was a huge success!

Mr Mikael Lind, Editor of UN/CEFACT Cross Industry Supply Chain Track and Trace Project at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and member of the jury:
I am thrilled to see what can be achieved by open innovation powered by a hackathon to facilitate change.

I have just listened to presentations made by seven finalists—out of 73 submissions engaging more than 500 participants—followed by a jury meeting, which I am honoured to be part of, to select the four winners of the Smart Port Challenge 2020 in Morocco.

Thanks to the national port agency, Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, and PortNet for opening up this platform for everyone to participate in innovating and designing the port of tomorrow.

A true effort that allows all of us to join forces towards a more sustainable maritime ecosystem.

Jérémie, participant and winner of the Jury prize:
It has been such a pleasure to participate in the Smart Port Challenge organised by ANP, PortNet and the Alliance!

It was a great opportunity for us to challenge ourselves and work on finding concrete solutions to real problems in only 6 weeks!

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