WORLD SYSTEMS, a new approach to maritime traffic in the development policies of port cities
In the context of research projects into the dynamics of port cities, AIVP would like to draw its active members’ attention to the World Systems project. This project, financed by the European Union to the tune of one and a half million euros, began in March 2013 and will go on for 5 years. The World Systems project is under the scientific responsibility of César Ducruet, CRNS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) researcher and member of AIVP’s network of experts.“The World Seastems project aims to map and to analyze the changing spatial pattern of the world economy across 300 years from a maritime perspective. It will exploit untapped vessel movement data on a world scale since 1734, date of the first publication of Lloyd’s List. Such data offer disaggregated information on weekly inter-port flows with detailed descriptions of vessels as well as their dates of departure and arrival at world’s ports. Despite the vital importance of maritime transport for economic development and international trade, no research has been done on the long-term evolution of the global maritime network. There are three main goals of the project.
First, it will map for the first time the spatial distribution of almost 300 years of maritime flows in a dynamic and interactive manner. A geomatics visualisation platform will also integrate advanced analytical tools to simplify the pattern of shipping routes and corridors, and to extract meaningful information from the original data, with both scientific and pedagogical outcomes. Second, the project will look at the topological and spatial structure of the global network of inter-port links with reference to graph theory, social network analysis, and complex networks. The global properties of the network can be compared with general models of networks, while the evolution of macroscopic measures will be explored in relation with wider structural and conjectural changes in the world system (e.g. conflicts, revolutions, crises, territorial reconfigurations) in terms of network expansion, shrinkage, concentration and polarization. Internally, the search for tightly connected substructures (i.e. clusters, communities of ports, économies-mondes) will focus on the emergence of world regions and regional integration processes. Finally, we will examine the co-evolution of maritime flows and urban/regional development and compare the growth trajectories of port and non-port cities based on their situation in the combined sea-land network.
In a multidisciplinary fashion, the project questions both the contribution and the resilience of port activities and shipping routes to the transformations of the world system and economy from the local level to the global level. It will provide novel results about world systems theory, network theory, and location theory. ”
Debate between leaders of the cruise ship industry and port-cities
AIVP followed with much interest the work of the conference organised by the Cruise Europe association, which held a meeting for its members in Le Havre on 23, 24 and 25 April this year. More than one hundred delegates involved in the development of the cruise ship business in port-cities, from a score of countries in Northern and Western Europe, took part in the conference.The port-city as an economic adjustment variable?
The cruise operators represented among the speakers (Holland America Line, Celebrity, Carnival, AIDA…) testified to the good health of the cruise market in Northern and Western Europe, while stressing the difficulty of ensuring that the business remains profitable economically. The cost of fuel and port costs were mentioned to explain this apparently paradoxical situation. The direct and indirect costs associated with calls at European ports were once again vigorously denounced by the lines’ representatives. The question of the balance sought between passenger expectations of an attractive and comfortable programme of calls on the one hand, and the companies’ demand for maximum profitability on the other, is necessarily delicate. In the search for this financial balance, companies see the choice of the port-cities at which they call as an adjustment variable. These port-cities therefore have a strong incentive to offer conditions for ship calls which meet the companies’ strategic demands. For a start, every port-city must know how to negotiate a win-win partnership, while understanding that it is more and more difficult to make the most of the profits to be earned from their geographical situation in a context of strong competition between ports which are ever better equipped for cruise ship calls.
In search of authenticity
The structure of each cruise and, naturally, the question of the calls and the excursions available, were central issues in the debates. To reduce the variable costs of their operations, the companies look for new circuits which are linear rather than loops; passengers therefore embark and disembark at different ports. Moreover, slow steaming, already extensively used by cargo vessels, is an increasingly common practice among cruise ship operators. Steaming speeds at sea have been falling steadily for several years to save fuel. As a result of this, ports of call cannot be too far apart in order to optimise passage time, which is the least expensive for the operator and can generate the best profits for companies through consumption of the services offered on board. In the port of call, the companies are careful to ensure that the terminal is close to the city centre, and that good road infrastructure exists for day excursions. Failing that, the offer of launches (free of course!) by local players is naturally appreciated.
The quality of the excursions offered, the level of on-shore reception and the interest of each port of call contribute to the reputation and success of the cruise, and therefore of the company. For the cruise ship operator, novelty, authenticity and exclusivity are values which are sure to guarantee a satisfying “repeater” rate among passengers, who are also encouraged to recount their “experience” on the internet and social networks. For European cruises, this indirect marketing strategy is proving particularly successful.
It is hard to say who is winning this game in which port-cities and cruise ship companies try not to be first to blink. The strong market dynamic is sufficient to keep everybody happy for the moment: the companies who are permanently refining their economic model, the port-cities who are polishing their images and can expect substantial economic benefits, and finally the passengers, who every day are offered more, at more competitive prices. However the equilibrium is fragile and the importance of the role played by the industry’s professionals in each port of call should be stressed. In a few years, they have become essential points of contact for the companies and the first to encourage the formation of local “cruise clubs”. A great advantage of meetings like this is that it brings them together and allows them refine the strategies of their own port-cities.
Kengo Kuma: the Japanese architect builds culture into the old river port at Besançon (France)
The recently inaugurated “City of the Arts” at Besançon brings together the FRAC (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art), located in an old brick-built warehouse, with a new building housing the Music Conservatory. The public esplanade serves the whole ensemble, creating a link between city, art and the river.
Source : Kengo Kuma And Associates ; Le Moniteur
Shanghai : un 3e terminal passagers pour faire face à la croissance du trafic croisière
Malaga: “El Palmeral”, a development which reinforces port-city integration, wins an architecture award
Virtualisation of cruise terminal information systems in Venice
“Venezia Terminal Passageri” hopes that their investment will reduce considerably the risks associated with a breakdown in computer systems, which could potentially cause an interruption in services and a loss of data with disastrous consequences for the company.
Source: La Repubblica
Copenhague: inicio de las obras para la construcción del Centro Nacional de Arquitectura diseñado por Rem Koolhass
El Centro se implantará en el emplazamiento de una antigua cervecería donde también se prevén oficinas y viviendas. Dicho centro permitirá vincular el centro de la ciudad con el frente costero histórico y el barrio cultural de Slotsholmen.
Source : OMA ; Cyber Archi
Alotau in Papua-New Guinea preparing to receive cruise ship calls
The Port of Alotau will be restructured by PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNGPCL) between now and October to enable it to receive the first cruise ships operated by Carnival Australia, one of the biggest operators in the Australian market. This will make it the biggest cruise ship port in the country.
Source: PNG Ports Corporation
Los Angeles: the port adopts a heritage action plan
The port of Los Angeles is to make an inventory of its historical, cultural and architectural resources. This evaluation will allow it to draw up an action plan and establish priorities for the preservation and, where possible, re-use of its heritage.
Source : Port of Los Angeles
Bayonne : un nouveau cinéma dans les anciens Docks
La ville de Bayonne a choisi l’Atelier architecture Randja pour la création d’une “maison du cinéma” au bord de l’Adour. Les deux salles existantes dans ces anciens entrepôts dédiés au négoce du vin seront restructurées et une nouvelle salle sera ajoutée.
Source : Ville de Bayonne
Port and City to work together for the development of the outer harbour in San Antonio
Cleaning up the fjord in Oslo. Port works with companies and NGOs to help WWF in their fight against plastic in the oceans
How to invest in Human Capital?
Providing personal developing opportunities is crucial for human capital development. There are numerous examples of port cities, where ports and universities work together to facilitate trainings and educational courses to the employees. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the port just signed a new agreement with the Economic Sciences Faculty of the local University, to allow as well new research cooperation. In Rotterdam we can find other examples of this kind, such as the cooperation between the port and the Erasmus University. In a similar way, the Mauritius Ports Authority has signed a new protocol with the University of Mauritius to created new training programmes that will allow port employees to expand their careers. Other agreements may also support port workers differently, as in the protocol signed between the port of Valparaiso and SENDA in Chile, to prevent drugs and alcohol abuse.
Education is also fundamental to reduce inequalities and increase the diversity of port workers. For that purpose, the Port Authority of New South Wales has launched a new training program designed for Indigenous women, partnering with the not-for-profit organization Tribal Warrior. The port also sponsors the Deck Cadet Program to help young seafarers to kickstart their career. Indeed, engaging younger generations in port city activities is a necessary for developing the local human capital. For that reason, this kind of programs or other initiatives are becoming more common. Another example is the internship program by the Bilbao Puerto y Ría Foundation designed for young graduates. All these efforts only make sense if there are ways to couple job offers and demands, in order to facilitate this, Talent in de Haven 2.0 will take place in Antwerp to facilitate the match between companies and job seekers.
Different ways to discover the port
During the coming weeks, AIVP will focus on port city culture. There are many different ways to enhance the port identity as we have seen recently. In Antwerp, the Havenland Run & Walk 2020 edition will allow participants to run or hike along the Rietveld Kallo nature reserve, viewing the port. The event will take place on November 7th and 8th, adapted with “corona-proof” safety measures. Another example to discover the waterfront can be found in San Diego, USA, where the port is highlighting the arts and culture program, with a series of self-guided tours to experience the art locations. In Fremantle, Australia, the port is organizing free port walks, with the help of volunteers enrolled in a new program, to better educate the public about port operations and the history of Victoria Quay. Another way to culturally link port and city is supporting local initiatives, as the port of Huelva in Spain is doing, collaborating with Ibero-American Film Festival.
The new NextGen District in Antwerp (Belgium) will become a hub for innovative companies, from start-ups to industry leaders, in the field of circular economics
The Port Sustainability Plan from Port Authority of New South Wales (Australia) wins Good Design Award. The plan, co-created with employees, defines a framework for sustainable initiatives in four main areas: people, operations, environment and communities
Taking gender equality seriously in port cities
The presence of women in the maritime world is no longer novelty, and their contribution is a crucial added value for ports. This was the main message from the Minister of Women and Gender Equity of Chile in her visit to the port of San Antonio. However, there is still a long way to go. For that reason, three Argentinian ports have launched initiative addressing gender issues. The Dock Sud port and the Port of Buenos Aires have created commissions on gender perspective in accordance with the ministry’s directives. The port of Bahía Blanca has developed an action protocol for situations of gender violence. The main objective is to define the actions to be taken in situations of discrimination and/or gender violence against women and people from the LGTBIQ+ collective, guaranteeing a work environment of trust, security and respect for people’s rights.
Port Culture: the foundation for social integration of ports
As we will see during the next month, disclosing port city culture is crucial for the social integration of ports. Events such as the Italian Port Days form last week can bring the population close to the port. The second edition of this event organized by Assoporti was supported by many Italian port authorities that hosted open days or cultural activities. In the case of Genoa, the festival Zones Portuaires contributed to the celebration of port city culture with concerts, exhibitions and debates, including one webinar with the participation of AIVP. In other port cities similar initiatives are taking place, like in Viana do Castelo (Portugal), but this time virtually due to the limitations imposed for the Covid-19.
Mobility in port cities: different approaches to a complex problem
One of the challenges for port-city relationships is managing the impact of port traffic in urban areas. To address this issue, the port of San Diego (USA) has presented the plan “Harbor Drive 2.0.” to keep trucks out of local neighbourhoods. The port will collaborate with the San Diego Association of Governments, and the California Department of Transportation to create a dedicated road for trucks. The plan also calls for better sidewalks, bike lanes and mass transit stops. Other solutions to make port city mobility more sustainable are based on river transport. One example is London, where express delivery companies are combining it with bicycles for the last mile. In Paris and Lisbon we can find examples of river passenger traffic using electric boats, both for leisure and commuting. Electromobility has been one of the main solutions many port cities are considering, as it is also happening in Aveiro (Portugal), where the port with new charging stations. Other cases are going one step further and testing new transport methods, such as drones, as we saw in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) some days ago.
The importance of food and port cities
This years’ Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Word Food Program for its efforts to end hunger and provide quality food. Port Cities play a key in the distribution of food for all, as we saw this week with the new agreement between the port of San Antonio (Chile) and the local fishermen collectives to support sustainable fishing techniques. The discussion about food will continue, particularly this week when FAO celebrates the World Food Day. There will be several events such as the Food Talks in Valencia (Spain), in Las Naves of La Marina.
The Ruakura logistics hub (New Zealand) will include a 10 hectare area of wetland to offset environmental impacts
Swedish company Wallenius Marine is set to launch the biggest wind-powered RoRo vessel ever built
ValenciaPort will accompany Callao (Peru), Valparaiso (Chile) and Kingston (Jamaica) in the field of smart technologies
The Indian Ocean: central to the energy transition with LNG?
With the mega-ship CMA-CGM Jacques Saadé now in service, the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a fuel for seagoing vessels is now a reality. This 23,000 TEU ship’s propulsion systems are powered by LNG, an energy source that allows a 20 to 40% reduction in CO2 emissions, and also emits low levels of sulphur oxides and fine particulate matter. The Mozambique Canal boasts vast LNG resources that could drive this energy transition, and the port cities of the Indian Ocean are preparing for the revolution. One example is Longoni (Mayotte, France), which is redeveloping as a support base for the industry. On the other side of the Canal, the terminals at Durban (South Africa) are being upgraded to handle LNG. Demand is high, with India expressing an interest in this cleaner form of energy. A substantial volume of LNG extracted will pass through Indian ports. Meanwhile, Total is maintaining its major investment (13 billion euros) in the province of Cabo Delgado (Mozambique), despite attacks by terrorist groups in Mocimboa da Praia. The company is also set to collaborate with Siemens on LNG turbines.
North Sea Port (Netherlands): Yara launches a plant producing ammonia for use as a marine fuel
AI and “smart” technologies, for greener and more efficient port cities?
According to recent studies, the “smart port” market is set to be worth 14 billion dollars by 2027. Artificial intelligence, automation, blockchain, and the Internet of Things all offer possibilities for improving the efficiency of port installations. Incidentally, AIVP has previously touched on these issues in an interview for the European programme “Speed”.
The port of Rotterdam (Netherlands) has created a coalition to develop AI, which includes the Muncipality of Rotterdam, InnovationQuarter, Netherlands Maritime Technology and TU Delft university. Blockchain is among the priority technologies, as seen with the “Distro” platform, also in the Netherlands, which allows electricity to be bought and sold via blockchain. In Busan (South Korea), the City Authorities have signed a MoU with the Port, universities and a technology centre to develop smart technologies as part of the South Korean Government’s “Digital New Deal” strategy. These technologies are also being developed through competitive events such as “Hackathons”. One such event took place on 14 October, organised by Ports de Lille (France) in partnership with the “Speed” programme, on the “digital and environmental revolution”.
Green hydrogen: a future energy source for port cities?
The future seems to lie with “green” hydrogen, made from non-fossil based electricity. It would require a virtuous chain between renewable energies and hydrogen production plants, to which city-port ecosystems are particularly suited.
In that vein, the Port of Bordeaux (France) has signed an agreement to develop a green hydrogen production industry locally. It is a similar story in Bilbao (Spain), where the port authority has given the go-ahead for construction of one of the world’s largest green hydrogen plants.
These industries are often organised in the form of hubs like the one at Port Kembla (New South Wales Port Authority, Australia, helping to stimulate the local economy.
Mass-produced hydrogen could power ships and help to improve the environmental footprint of maritime shipping. To that end, some companies are researching hydrogen-based propulsion systems, including Engie and ArianeGroup which have joined forces. Prototypes of hydrogen engines are even now being tested by the Italian company Fincantieri.
There is a real market for this new fuel, as can be seen with the agreement that will see Portugal supply green hydrogen to the Port of Rotterdam, which needs the resource for its future operations.