Innovation? How can such an old port be modernized?

Since the dawn of time, people settling near the coastline earned their living off of the ocean – fishermen catching tomorrow’s dinner or ship owners sailing people and merchandise.  Between these two groups developed another large sector of supporting professionals: various merchants, laborers, shippers and suppliers. Hence, use of the phrase “Blue Economy” may initially appear to be a trendy buzzword of something that is instinctively understood but the phrase actually denotes a far broader philosophy.

People everywhere realized that beyond its natural uses, the ocean offers an entire sea (in every sense of the word) of innovative opportunities; and this potential innovation must be leveraged with extreme care – without harming the ocean itself or the ecosystems contained therein. “Blue Economy” is defined as the development of new projects that are based on the ocean’s resources; promotion of marine research to ensure ocean conservation for future generations; and acceleration of innovative processes to streamline and improve this work that is the core of the lives of the fishermen and merchants, port industry and business owners, and, of course, the general public that enjoys the ocean as a focal point of nature and recreation.

In Jaffa Port – the oldest active port in the world – an extensive and captivating groundbreaking activity has been witnessed in recent years. The Tel-Aviv Jaffa Municipality, which promotes innovation throughout the city, considers the ocean, ports and the urban coastline a resource with vast potential for innovative activity. One of the focal points of this activity is the BETA SITE for urban marine innovation enterprises that are being established by entrepreneurs in their natural and suitable environment. The Jaffa port includes designated space that provides home to renewable energy ventures, marine ecosystem rehabilitation and smart management of marinas. 

The innovation space at the Port offers – a spectacular view and access to fresh hummus every day – a rare combination of three unique strengths.  First, a thriving technological environment: the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo is recognized as one of the startup capitals of the world, so the ancient port is located at the heart of a buzzing innovation hub. Second, access to the marine resource is a distinct advantage – what better for entrepreneurs than to get their ‘hands wet’ testing their ideas? Additionally, developers gain access to professionals from the municipality and “Atarim” company, to research, and to databases and monitoring reports. Third – the international position of Tel Aviv-Yafo attracts thousands of opinion leaders, investors, academics, delegations and executives from the business and technological worlds every year – most of whom pass through the “prime location” of the Jaffa Port during their visit. In other words, entrepreneurs who try their product at the Jaffa Port gain access to the three most important elements in any venture – a thriving technological environment, optimal testing ground and an endless stream of potential investors and partners.


ECO WAVE – when Inna Braverman, founder and CEO of ECOWAVE was an infant, she was almost killed by the Chernobyl disaster. The trauma led to a decision to dedicate her life to finding alternative, sustainable paths to generating energy. This commitment led to a global technological breakthrough: ECOWAVE, whose founding opened an innovative path to utilize and channel energy generated by ocean waves. Giant floaters, located at the port, connect to a smart system that converts the energy into electricity. The first small pilot by the Company grew at an impressive rate, and today is in the midst of building a 100Kw installed power plant that will connect to the electrical grid. This is smart utilization not only of ocean waves but also of breakwaters and walls surrounding the port – wasted real estate in the most desirable location in the city. The Company maintains operations in several sites across Europe, and is listed in the Stockholm stock exchange as well as on the Nasdaq in New York.


ECOncrete – is an Israeli start-up that developed “ecological concrete” – which not only does not harm the ocean but also facilitates in the rehabilitation of the marine environment. Whereas regular concrete is made of harmful material, ECOncrete is mixed with organic material and complex texture agents, resulting in a ‘concrete pool’ whose nooks and crannies facilitate the development of breeding and nesting areas for marine species. These innovative pools allow port managers – and other ports around the world – to operate in harmony with the marine ecosystem and maintain the rich ecological diversity alongside intense marine activity.


Avisco – is a biotech company that specializes in the development of new products relying on the biological activity of plants. One of the products is effective and green protective paint, designed for the bottom of boats, replacing traditional protective paints that contain heavy metals and pesticides. The company conducted the first trial with this paint at the Jaffa Port – a trial that resulted in trials being conducted at other ports around the world.


Pick a Pier – developed an innovative platform that predicts and streamlines occupancy at a marina. The Company’s technology helps optimize existing resources while promoting sustainable approach for boaters, marinas and the entire industry. Until new marinas are built Pick a Pier streamlines use of already existing docks while encouraging traffic in the sector to ensure rapid and easy docking for boaters and marinas. The technology helps increase revenue for supporting businesses operating in the industry while reusing and resharing existing resources.