Ashdod Port Company can proudly look back at the last year and a half since the first tender was published. Over 30 startups were selected in three tenders and they are now integrated and operational at the port. Presently the Port is looking forward to the next big step, as the company seeks accelerators and venture capital funds to participate in a tender for the establishment and operation of a technological incubator at the port.
Ashdod Port is continuing to lead the innovation revolution in the sea and shipping industry, as part of its preparation for the upcoming competition, whereas in the coming year two new private ports are expected to be opened in Israel. The topic of innovation and technology is a significant strategic objective for the port and over the last two years we have been working hard to make this traditional outdated industry more technological and innovative. By integrating the technology in the port's operations the daily work will become more efficient and productive, while also creating a new avenue for significant investment and revenue.
In the framework of the tender an accelerator will be selected to establish an incubator for entrepreneurs and it will include about ten startups for the development of innovative technologies and products in the sea, shipping, logistics and energy fields. The companies that are selected will receive full support from the port staff, along with an experimental area to test products. At the end of the process they will have an opportunity to integrate the end product into the port's systems. Each one of the companies will receive 100 to150 thousand dollars.
Orna Hozman Bechor, Chairman of the Board of Ashdod Port, notes: “When we examined the port industry and the dramatic changes that are expected in the coming years, we identified a lacuna when it comes to technology in fields that are relevant to the port's operations. We strive to be leaders in the field and about a year and a half ago we set out on a path with a pilot that I am proud to say was successful beyond our expectations, whereas some of the startups are already integrated into the port's systems. By integrating technology into its daily operations Ashdod Port will have a clear competitive advantage when it comes to its operations and service, compared to the rest of the ports in Israel and around the world."
The company that is selected will provide a professional team that will be dedicated to advancing the accelerator's activity, fundraising and providing support and assistance to the participating startups. One of the objectives of the incubator is to create a global network for companies, in order to create business and strategic partnerships with accelerators around the world. This is essentially a model that all parties benefit from, whereas the port benefits from the professional knowledge that is supplied to the company that is selected and the company receives an established network of foreign companies to partner with. The startups also are given a significant advantage, since each one of them develops within a supportive incubator while receiving a real experimental site at the port, so that the investment potential in an established experienced startup is much higher and includes a low level of risk.
Orna Hozman Bechor, Chairman of the Board of Ashdod Port, adds: “We feel like we breached the dam and turned a traditional outdated industry into a developing innovative technological world. The incubator's establishment will create a significant network of relationships with additional accelerators around the world, so that we can import and export startups that will help Ashdod Port continue to be a leader in maritime technology. We encourage venture capital funds and accelerators all over the work to apply and join the ongoing revolution".
As mentioned, the incubator's establishment is just one more step in reinforcing Ashdod Port's development of its technological arm. The three tenders that took place over the last year and a half were a success and have already become operational. After a meticulous screening process, over 30 startups are already operating at the port. Among the startups that were selected is an established artificial intelligence company that forecasts future workloads, identifies future problems, produces autonomous recommendations, and more; an established Learning Machine company that monitors and forecasts changes on the sea floor in order to load the optimal amount of cargo, to increase safety of sea vessels and to reduce the navigation risks and maintenance costs; a company that specializes in cybersecurity, prevention, identification and warnings against cyberattacks, and more.