Port Community Cyber Security - IAPH Report


The initiative to produce a report on Port Community Cyber Security goes back to a meeting the authors of this paper had at the TT Club offices in London, during the 2019 edition of London International Shipping Week. At that time - September 2019 - only few people had heard of the term 'coronavirus', let alone that anyone could imagine how profound the impact of the COVID-19 variety would be on our industry. 

The COVID-19 crisis did emphasise the critical role of seaports in keeping supply chains moving and economies across the world functioning. A great variety of business and government actors interact in port communities to ensure multimodal flows of vital medical and food supplies, critical agricultural products, energy streams and other goods and services reach their intended destinations in time. Their interactions comprise physical interactions, such as cargo handling operations, vessel-related services, and multimodal transfers, as well as exchanges of data that facilitate clearance of cargo between jurisdictions. 

The COVID-19 crisis has painfully demonstrated the heterogeneous landscape that currently exists across ports worldwide when it comes to digitalization. While some port communities seized the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution and developed into full-fledged 'smart' ports, many others have barely grasped the essentials of digitalization and continue to struggle with larger reliance on personal interaction and paper-based transactions as the norms for shipboard, ship-to-shore interface and shore-to-hinterland based exchanges. 

With the world's attention now focused on exiting from lockdowns and preparing for a 'new normal', there is an urgent need for inter-governmental organisations, governments and industry stakeholders concerned with maritime trade and logistics to come together and accelerate the pace of digitalisation so that port communities across the world can at least offer a basic package of electronic commerce and data exchange. 

Increased digitalization of port communities means we need to pay increased attention to cyber security risks. This Port Community Cyber Security paper therefore comes at a time which is even more relevant than when we initially conceived it in September 2019. 

The paper is the result of great teamwork. I am most grateful to Pascal Ollivier (Maritime Street), Max Bobys (HudsonCyber), Chronis Kapalidis (HudsonAnalytix), Lance Kaneshiro (Port of Los Angeles), Ward Veltman (Port of Rotterdam Authority) and Frans van Zoelen (Port of Rotterdam Authority/IAPH) for their contributions. My warmest thanks also go to Rachael White (NextLevel Info) and my colleague Victor Shieh for the editorial and design work. Finally, I would like to thank our partners Richard Brough of ICHCA International and Peregrine Storrs-Fox of TT Club for their facilitation and support.

Download the report