Digitalisation trend is emerging in Dutch ports

Research show that Netherlands is Europe’s leading country in digitalisation. Most Dutch companies use digital databases and have automated operations in wide range of businesses. The government has ambitious plans for digitalisation, as described in the Dutch Digitalisation Strategy.

Port of Amsterdam is one of the Western Europe’s top 5 sea ports, handling annually 100 million tons of cargo. The ports vision includes digitalisation, which is promoted for example by investing in technological development via the “Digital Port” program. One step towards the digital port is to scan the port’s structures to create a digital 3D model, and that is where VRT comes into picture.

Sonar surveys offer detailed 3D data for predictive maintenance

Port of Amsterdam inspects underwater structures yearly, but the previous inspections have mostly been done by divers. As the port area includes about 60 kilometers of quays and wall structures, sonar surveys offer a cost-effective method for inspecting larger areas quickly.

VRT’s field crew surveyed 2 kilometers of quay structures in one working day, and the data was post-processed and analyzed by VRT’s licensed marine inspectors. The survey was performed with high quality, even the repaired spots in the steel sheet wall could be detected in the 3D data.

One key element in digitalisation is the easy access to data, so VRT delivers the survey results as a visualized 3D point cloud model via the online platform GISGRO. The whole 3D data can be accessed without separate software installations, and the data is easily usable in maintenance planning.

GISGRO also has a variety of tools for further utilization of point clouds. With the tools it is possible to examine damage depth in quay walls, check safe clearance depths, make depth charts and contours and calculate volumes from selected area. Port of Amsterdam uses GISGRO for example to calculate masses to be dredged. The outlines of dredging area can be easily exported in .dxf format and delivered to dredging company.

It has been very exciting to see how well the predictive maintenance and port asset management is taken into note in the Netherlands and also in Port of Amsterdam.

The purpose of this survey was to replace the need for an overall diving inspection, so that marine infrastructure can be scanned quickly and cost efficiently with zero interruptions to Port operations. After the survey, the client can continue examinations with the pinpointed diving inspections, if necessary.

I’m also very glad to hear that we managed to fulfil and exceed the client expectations also in this project. Port of Amsterdam have also uploaded their existing 3D data to the system, so they can continue utilizing the data in GISGRO for their asset management purposes.

Ville Mäkeläinen, Chief Business Development Officer, VRT Finland

When we first started to work with VRT we were curious about the service and the outcome of the survey. The survey was conducted in a location we were interested in because of the age of the quay wall. When receiving the results of the survey with the inspection report, we were surprised how detailed the 3D image was, and that they managed to see the deformations in specific points of the quay wall. We are very happy to use the online platform GISGRO for comparing the data from previous inspection with the data from the new inspection. We are also looking forward to use VRT’s services again in the future.

Marc Vogelzang, Asset Manager, Port of Amsterdam

Interested in our services? Contact us!

Karri Kolehmainen & Ville Mäkeläinen

Karri Koistinen

+358 40 0604927



Ville Mäkeläinen

+358 44 513 2222


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