Growing out of the Vento e Porti project, the Webgis system for forecasting winds improves the management of ports

Thanks to Vento e Porti, four Italians ports – Genoa, Savona, La Spezia and Leghorn – and a French port, Bastia in Corsica, can benefit from Webgis, a platform of measures that also provides real-time monitoring of the wind. Using statistics and algorithms, Webgis creates short and medium-term wind forecasts. Data collected through this uniform cross-border system facilitates management of the ports. Carriers and port authorities can therefore plan their operational measures better, depending on the weather conditions. In turn, this improves port security.

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" The effect on Italian ports is especially felt at an environmental level, with an impact on emissions from ships: when there is a wind blowing from the southern coast, for example, harbour master procedures require ships to only use generators located on the south side. Whereas, at the bulk cargo terminals, the stacks are sprayed with water or a film when it is windy. In both cases, short-term forecasts can ensure economies of scale. "

Giuseppe Canepa, Genoa port authority

Vento e Porti brought together the scientific and port communities in Italy and France to develop Webgis, an integrated management platform for wind-related data. 23 anemometers were distributed between five border ports, Livorno, La Spezia, Savona, Genoa in Italy, and Bastia in France.

Webgis provides real-time information on wind conditions. It allows authorities to inform users about the expected weather conditions, thus optimising navigational safety, accessibility to ports, and urban traffic. 

The harbour master's office, pilots, personnel at the moorings, shipowners and the staff in charge of the terminal, all use Webgis forecasts, both for piloting ships within the port areas (which are gradually growing in size) and for managing the terminal, for example during docking and undocking operations, or when using the wharf crane.

Through the signing of an agreement between the ports involved in the project, the University of Genoa and Météo France, port authorities have pledged to update and manage Webgis for a minimum of five years after the end of the work. "The port authorities must constantly work on the update in order to produce forecasts that will always be reliable." explains Giuseppe Canepa from the Genoa port authority.

A second project concerning additional resources, Vento, Porti e Mare, which was funded as part of a tender for single projects by the Italy-France Maritime 2007-2013 programme, intends to complete the Webgis system by including measures of swell. The objective is to produce combined wind-wave forecast models. "The prototype studied by the Port of La Spezia with INGV (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanología), relies on the use of seismographs and buoys to measure waves, and there have been good results." assures Giuseppe Canepa, from the Genoa port authority.

The two projects have involved participation from the same six partners:

  • Genoa port authority (lead partner)
  • Livorno port authority
  • Faculty of Civil, Chemical and Environmental Engineering (DICCA) of the University of Genoa
  • Savona port authority
  • La Spezia port authority
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bastia and Haute-Corse.

Total investment and EU funding

A total of EUR 1 816 100 was invested in the Vento e Porti project. The European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 1 362 075 under the Cross-Border Italy-Maritime France Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.


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