NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
Impact of Digitization Upon Port-development: THE ISRAELI PERSPECTIVE
By Sea and Coast | 18/11/2019

Anyone who understands our geographic reality and its economic and political implications will immediately grasp the value of our sea power for our existence”

Israel Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, 1950

Israel has a 200 Km of shoreline and more than 26,000 sqm of exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Israel is highly dependent on maritime resources. These include most of Israel's electricity and energy (about 85%), drinking water (about half of Israel's drinking water comes from desalination plants), lines of communication (that lie on seabed) and 99% of national trade. Additionally, about 60% of Israel's population live not more than 5nm from the seashore.
The sea lines of commerce to Israel go to two main ports in the Mediterranean Sea (Haifa port and Ashdod port) and one in the Red sea (Eilat port). In 2018, More than 6,000,000 tons of commodities and more than 6,500 vessels passed through Israel's commercial ports. 
In 2003 Israel issued an international tender for analyzing and planning the development of new ports/terminals in Israel. A Dutch company,Haskoning, won the international tender issued by the IPC (Israel Ports Development & Assets Company Ltd.) for the strategic planning of Israel's new ports. The IPC with the help of Haskoning designed and coordinated the development of the Southport Terminal in Ashdod and Bayport Terminal in Haifa (at the north part of Israel).  
These new port terminals have been designed to handle the largest container vessels currently being deployed (Class EEE). The construction work on the terminals is well under way, andthey are set to become operational during 2021. 
The IPC has signed contracts with international operators which have received a 25-year operational license to operate and maintain the two facilities. Southport terminal will be operated by TIL-Terminal Investments Ltd. and Bayport terminal will be operated by the Chinese SIPG-Bayport Terminal Co., Ltd.
Along with the developments of the ports and terminals, they become more and more sophisticated and advanced, using high-end technology, digitized and automated systems, which allow them to become more effective and efficient,and to reduce operating costs. 
This paper will present the challenges Israel facesin the developments of its seaports and their digitization. 
The development of ports in Israel, including their digitization and systems, when combined with the strategic situation in the Mediterranean arena,presents four main challenges: security, cybersecurity, maritime domain awareness, and challenges arising from the construction of new ports.
  1  Security Challenges
Israel's strategic situation includes many security challenges. Regional trends of recent years include a weakening of hostile state actors (such as Syria), and consequently, a decline in the traditional military threat. On the other hand, a hybrid, asymmetric, and multi-faceted threat from extremist Islamic Jihadist elements has emerged.  
In order to keep its sea lines and sea ports secure, and to maintain Israel's security and sovereignty, the Israeli Defense Forces and especially the Israeli Navy should be able to protect the Israeli shore line, ports and sea lines of commerce from different types of adversaries. These adversaries range from terror organizations (such as Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS and others) to regular navies (such as the Syrian navy, if it will be restored into operational capacityafter the conclusion of the Syrian civil war, possiblywith the help of the Russian navy and the IranianRevolutionaryGuard Corps). 
The challenge of securing Israeli assets at sea, the commerce lines and the sea ports, requires the Israeli Navy to build and maintain different operational capabilities against different types of adversaries and threats. These include different platforms, detection and command and control systems, and weapon systems. All this has to be done with in sign if I cant budgetary constraints.  
 2    Cybersecurity Challenges
The world of shipping and maritime transportation has experienced a major transformation in recent years. Especially important is the growth in connectivity, communication, digitization and automation, as well as the integration of the information and logistics systems of the seaports, vessels and shipping companies, as well as their customers. 
Ports operate numerous computerized systems for port management, loading and unloading of containers and cargo, movement and storage within the port, billing and customer's services systems, physical security systems, maritime control systems, etc. All these systems are connected by means of the internet and satellite communication systems; they are also connected to the vessels.
Vessels are also equipped with numerous systems: detection and navigation satellite systems (Global Navigation Satellite System – GNSS), identification and monitoring of ships (Automatic Tracking System – AIS), loading of navigation maps (Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems – ECDIS), control of the engines and steering, control of various sensors (such as monitoring of fuel, oil, water flow, fire/smoke, etc.), control of cargo and transshipment, etc.  
The various systems onboard a vessel are interconnected and integrated, as well as being connected to the port and the shipping companies by means of satellite communication and other channels of communication. 
The integration of technological advances, the multiplicity of seaport and ship systems and the connectivity between them are increasingly exposing ports and ships to cyber threats. At the same time, global economic changes have led to the increased importance of the ports and shipping to the economies of the world, making them a very appealing target for such attacks. Cyber attackers view the ports and the shipping companies as quality targets in view of the huge amount of information they possess, the high turnover in the industry and the technological vulnerability of the systems. 
Cyber-attackers could offer their services to criminal organizations, terror organizations, activists or nation-states. They are constantly searching for ways to exploit technological advances and systems in order to carry out cyber-attacks on the seaports, on shipping companies and even on vessels.
The goals of cyber-attacks on the maritime industry and on maritime assets and infrastructure might be financial profits, influence on public opinion, reputational damage, political gain or military purposes, such as disrupting or shutting down a nation's critical assets as part of hybrid warfare strategy.
Protecting ports and shipping against cyber threats is a complex task. Following are some of the challenges:
A   Development of an organizational/security culture in the ports and in the shipping companies, which will ensure secure behavior and personal responsibility among the employees and the management levels, in addition to the assimilation of procedures, awareness and work methods for the improvement of organizational preparedness against cyber-attacks. 
B  Shipping companies manage ports, goods and cargo in many countries, with a wide geographical dispersion. This makes it difficult to create a unified defense strategy that will provide protection to all of the ports and to the connectivity between them. 
C   There are no unified configuration of information systems, detection and navigation systems, communication and control, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to create cyber security solutions that are on the one hand as generic and economically feasible as possible and on the other hand solve for the heterogeneous configurations of the various systems on ships and defend against the large number and variety of threats. 
D  There are various crews operating on the ships, with a variety of nationalities and very often with little security awareness and no control or supervision by an information security professional. 
E  Supervision and monitoring of threats around the clock and throughout the year, including real-time monitoring and warning and the ability to deal with a threat within the shortest time possible. 
3 Maritime domain awareness challenges
Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)is defined as "the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain, all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway.2" 
MDA encompasses all maritime related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, and vessels and other conveyances that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of a nation state. 
Achieving awareness of the maritime domain is challenging. The vastness of the oceans, the great length of the shorelines, and the size of port areas provide both concealment and numerous access points to the land. A key national security requirement is the effective understanding of all activities, events and trends in the maritime domain that could threaten the safety, security, economy, or environment of the nation state. 
Israel has a great operational need to maintain security along its shorelines, seaports and EEZ. This raises MDA challenges, including surveillance, classification and identification of a large number of targets, the fusion of an enormous amount of data from many sensors, and anomaly detection. 
The first challenge for MDA in Israel, is the ability to detect, classify and identify targets at long distance from shore, which requires fusing many types and systems of sensors, information and intelligence resources. This challenge becomes even greater with the increase of data and systems complexity. 
One of the biggest challenges in fusing data is the ability to detect target characteristics and behavior anomalies at all ranges, for example small fishing boats that sail along the shore or small islands. 
The second challenge is how to identify and pinpoint, accurately and in real time, a threat such as terrorists, piracy, or other adversaries. 
The third challenge is the ability to build and maintain a real-time and accurate maritime picture, based on fusion from many sensors, at all ranges: from near shore up to the EEZ ranges. This is especially challenging since the maritime arena is characterized by dozens of small to medium targets thatare hard to detect and difficult to classify and identify. 
The final challenge is finding a way to secure the detection, command, control and communication systems from electronic warfare manipulation and cyber-attacks and exploit operations.  
4   The New Ports Challenge
The new terminals that are being built in the Haifa and Ashdod ports will be able to handle large ships. The depth of the water in these terminals is meant to be 17.3 meters, the turning radius will be about 600 meters and the length of the piers will be 750-800 meters. 
The first challenge of the new terminals is that on the one hand, the new terminals, especially in Haifa, will allow bigger ships to download and upload their cargo and thus will significantly increase the amount of maritime commerce to Israel. But on the other hand, these terminals threaten to shift a not-insignificant share of container traffic away from the Haifa and Ashdod port companies. The administrations of these port companies are concerned, and rightly so, and each of them is strategizing as the day approaches when the new terminals will go into operation. 
It can be assumed that once the new terminals become operational, the container traffic of the Ashdod and Haifa port companies will be reduced, in view of the better conditions at the new terminals (depth, size of ships, etc.) and the fact that the terminals are closely connected to the shipping companies. It can also be assumed that the level of service / reliability / efficiency will be superior to that of the government port companies. This is essentially the main challenge facing the Ashdod and Haifa port companies.
The company that most successfully reorganizes in preparation for the new era of competition will be the one that survives and flourishes. 
The second major challenge is the fact that the new port terminals will be operated by foreign companies, especially the north ports which will be operated by the Chinese SIPG company. 
In recent months there have been calls from Israeli senior officials and the media, which raised economical and security concerns over the Chinese take-over of Israeli firms and especially from the Chinese port operation. These concerns were raised also from the USA, which is concern that the Chinese will be able to spy on US Navy ships which regularly visit the existing neighboring Haifa port to the south. 
At an academic seminar at Haifa University in August, US Admiral (Retired) Gary Roughead, who served as the US Navy's 29th Chief of Naval Operations and today a research Fellow at the Hoover Institute, warned that the Chinese can use civilian infrastructures for military purposes and that this is a matter that should "concern both Israel and the US."3 
Regarding the foreign port terminal operators and the cybersecurity issues, it is clear that different types of information systems from the new terminals' operators should be integrated with the national information systems (such as customs and national terminal operating systems, which integrate all Israel's ports information). This integration between systems via internet lines imposes a real cyber threat that should be taken care of in advance.  
Israel has a relatively short shoreline (but very crowded) and large EEZ. Israel's dependency on maritime resources is significant. Most of Israel's electricity, energy, food, drinking water, lines of communication and most of national commerce depend on the sea and on sea resources. 
The sea lines of commerce to Israel go to three main ports which Israel depends on. In the prospective of enlarging the maritime commerce Israel started to build two new ports terminals, in the south and in the north part of Israel. 
The existing ports in Israel and the new ports are highly sophisticated, integrated and operated by many computerized systems. 
The development of Israel's ports and their digitization, along with the strategic situation at the Mediterranean arena, impose four main challenges on Israel port's development: 
A Security challenges for the Israeli navy and the IDF, for defending the maritime assets mainly against terror acts. 
B Cybersecurity challenges for defending the information systems and operational systems (such as cranes) from cyber-attacks, which can be preform by different forms and type of adversaries. 
C Maritime domain awareness challenges in order to build a real-time and accurate maritime picture along the Israeli shore line and at the EEZ area. 
D The challengeraised by ports' foreign shareholders, which from onepoint of view threaten the other ports in the economical perspective, and from another point of view create intelligence threats to Israel and its allies in the port of Haifa. The third and last point of view is the necessity to integrate new and foreign information systems to national information systems, and the cyber threat this imposes.