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Scottish Firm Utilising Tech to Make Ports Safer and Greener

David Paul



ION has announced the successful digital switchover from manual operations to SmartPort software in Montrose.

ION Geophysical, which has a base in Edinburgh, is looking to make ports smarter, safer, and greener using Montrose in Scotland as its initial staging-ground.

The company developed it’s the software with grant support from Scottish Enterprise and is using the Montrose Port Authority as a testbed to refine the technology.

ION has switched the Montrose port over to its Marlin SmartPort optimisation software, capable of transforming its efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

Stuart Darling, Senior Vice President of ION’s Edinburgh-based Software group, 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 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.”

The Montrose Port Authority is a leading support and service hub for the energy industry in Scotland, as well as the general cargo market, and has carried out extensive upgrades as part of its wider expansion plans.

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.”


In February of this year, ION received a grant from Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic development agency, to broaden scope and to “deliver comprehensive value to the global ports and harbours market,” according to statement by the company.

Development of the ports will enable new web-based features, such as port call optimisation, back office digitisation and port community engagement, and will “expand ION’s offshore operations optimisation capabilities to address a range of digitisation requirements for ports and other sectors.”

The software development will take place in ION’s Edinburgh office, supporting the local economy.

Director of National Opportunities at Scottish Enterprise, David Smith, 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 switchover that started in Scotland could spark ideas for projects across many industries.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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