Better understanding through serious game Port of the Future

Published: 24 September 2015

Stakeholders involved in the port area actually get a better understanding of the different interests by playing the sustainable serious game: the Port of the Future. This emerged from the first practical gaming session in Colombia. The innovative serious game focuses on creating a green port that is in harmony with the ecosystem and that is robust or adaptable under change.

Dutch and Colombian participants have played the game during the economic mission to Colombia in Cartagena, which was led by the Dutch Minister Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment.

serious game Port of the Future
Screenshot of the Port of the Future Serious Game

The players were encouraged to work together and to collaborate on the development of a sustainable port. In addition, the game raised awareness of the impact that interventions have, and the available options for sustainable ports. The game is a part of the Port of the Future project, a green port concept that Deltares has developed in conjunction with IMARES, and the Dutch government is supporting application in Colombia. The consortium partners on the Port of the Future project include, alongside Deltares and IMARES, WWF, Boskalis, Royal HaskoningDHV and Technical University Delft and VU IVM.

Dr. Cor Schipper, an expert on sustainable port development and project leader of the Port of the Future Serious Game received enthusiastic reactions in Colombia. ’The Port of the Future Serious Game raises awareness of port authorities and policy makers in a realistic surrounding. It shows opportunities to incorporate sustainable aspects in port development, learning to work with uncertainties during operations and addresses possible cost savings through reduced maintenance cost on the short to long term of 20 years.’


Team gaming with the Port of the Future elementsTeam gaming with the Port of the Future elements (Cartagena, Colombia)

Striking a balance between the environment and economic efficiency

The aim of the Port of the Future project is, in addition to optimising port design, to strike a balance between preserving the environment and safeguarding economic efficiency in shipping, port activities and port services. This includes the socio-economic development, natural requirements and impact of sustainable design of sustainable growth of ports with insight in cause-effect relations. The Port of the Future concept can be used not only for new port developments but also for port expansion. Because of the wider economic impact of port projects and global demand for sustainability in complex infrastructure projects of this kind, there is also a need, in addition to investments, knowledge development and applied research, for a multidisciplinary dialogue between engineers, socio-economists, policy-makers and ecologists.

Central focus in game on dialogue and awareness of the impact

The Port of the Future serious game helps to establish a dialogue between various stakeholders and to raise awareness of the impact of interventions. The 3D Green Port serious game is based on the People, Plant, Profit concept as a framework for sustainability in which the players build up a picture of the complexity, feasibility and desirability of a transition to sustainable port development. The serious game has been designed on the basis of integral, fundamental knowledge from a range of disciplines that makes it possible to show the impact of actions on indicators in a simulation model. The game applies a fictional but realistic environment, autonomous scenarios, a set of measures and a qualitative set of indicators for safety, economy and the natural environment.