Djibouti: when a port city becomes an international business centre
Construction work on this business district on the site of the former port of Djibouti was officially launched by the country’s President on 8 October. The first phase involves the creation of a hotel, exhibition and conference rooms, along with a marine research centre. Eventually, there will also be a pair of twin towers, shopping mall, marina, cruise terminal, aquarium, and other amenities. Above all, though, the project is about creating a new vision of the port city based on the “Port-Park-City” concept developed by the China Merchant Group, a key partner of Djibouti. Originally created by China Merchants Group for the Chinese port of Shekou, the concept is based on the integrated development of ports, industrial parks, services, and the city. China Merchant Group had already made clear its aim of applying the idea to several ports in Africa, including Djibouti..
A new future for Penang Bay (Malaysia)
The State Government of Penang has organised an international ideas competition for suggestions on building a resilient “City-State” across the island’s different neighbouring districts. The aim is to build on the area’s historic and natural advantages to develop a new type of city, combining culture, nature, economy and new technologies, with an emphasis on innovation. There are also plans for a creative and technology precinct in George Town, while Butterworth is set to get an innovation centre based around the port installations and Penang Sentral multimodal terminal.
The Mayor of Tampico (Mexico) and the Chief Executive of the Port continue their dialogue to promote City-Port integration
Video: the planned Art Gallery of New South Wales on the Sydney waterfront (Australia) will be a sustainable building
The Port of Busan announces a new operation for its North Port project
The North Port Development Project was launched in 2008. It concerns a vast swathe of waterfront, which the Port wants to turn into a world-class maritime and urban tourist centre. There are plans for a business district, a multi-use port district focused on passenger-based activities, cultural and leisure districts, and a residential area. The project is currently on display in the international passenger terminal, which also overlooks this North sector of the port. The Port’s current headquarters will be converted into a cruise terminal. The port is also looking at the feasibility of a new HQ, which would be housed in a smart building in the North sector, accompanying the port on its path to innovation.
Paris: the Seine set to form the focal point of the Olympics
The proximity of the Seine was one of the big arguments underpinning Paris’ bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which focused heavily on the river’s potential benefits as part of an environmentally-friendly Games. As a result, the waterway is being used to transport the materials and excavated earth and waste from the worksites where the various venues and facilities are under construction. One such site is the future Olympic Village, with its 3,000 residential units. Haropa Ports de Paris and Voies Navigables de France are both working to ensure the Olympic-related activity is compatible with usual river logistics, whether in terms of port traffic or tourism. However, the Paris Games are being organised with an eye firmly on the future, with the Olympic Village set to be turned into an eco-district, while Haropa Ports de Paris is keen to use the Games as a way of accelerating its existing efforts to promote the energy transition, and to improve water quality in the Seine.
Pattaya (Thailand): a cruise terminal, shopping mall, and raised promenade are all part of a new project that has gone down well with residents and the business community
When art comes to the port…
We have previously told you about several projects to enhance and showcase the aesthetic appeal of port infrastructures. The latest example is to be found at the Port of Strasbourg (France), which is hosting a month of artistic projections on the side of the Malteries d’Alsace silo. The project was made possible with the collaboration of the Rhine Higher Institute of Arts. The series of projections will showcase the past and present of the Rhine Port. In Rio (Brazil), the “Rua Walls” exhibition was recently inaugurated. The initiative, which saw 18 artists turn the walls of several warehouses into artworks, is also a community inclusion project. Another public art initiative is to be found in Toronto (Canada), where artists will be invited to take up residence on the Toronto waterfront for sixteen months, creating a dialogue with the local community and bringing vibrancy to the district. In early 2021, Toronto is also set to launch a new public urban art strategy for the next ten years.
A unique multimedia aquatic show in Quebec could inspire port cities
Every port should have a festival: Antwerp organizes Drakenboot Festival for September 2013
Synthesis AIVP Days Helsinki : “Culture and competitiveness of port cities
Announcing the creation of cultural infrastructure in port spaces which are still active, or in the process of conversion, often provokes arguments and disagreements between the players concerned, and also the population.
Are cultural installations essential to the success of the port-city relationship?
Disputes are even more open in a context of local or national economic crisis. This was the case in Iceland in 2008 when the construction of the Harpa Concert Hall at the port-city interface of Reykjavik was launched. Investing so heavily in this type of infrastructure appears risky to many, and at all events not a high priority.
The feedback from the latest AIVP Meeting shows that in the long term this kind of bet on the future does pay. It has a positive impact on the quality of life, turning these sites into attractions which draw thousands of visitors, and places where people want to live. They also strengthen relations and cooperation between the parties involved.
Furthermore, in addition to the specific buildings, the challenge is also to bring new life to a whole territory, and to construct communities. This can be achieved by supporting the creation of “culture districts”, as in Reykjavik or Buenos Aires. Thus particular attention is paid to the quality of public spaces to favour the adoption of the new infrastructure by the population. The Spanish example of Malaga is enlightening in this respect, with the creation of a circuit round the cultural infrastructure which already existed in the city centre and the new infrastructure created on the waterfront. New links are forged, a new port-city weft is created. Appropriation by the population becomes possible thanks to the creation of a single port-city public space and a common imaginary.
At Veracruz, in Mexico, the need for a port extension must also be based on maritime culture, a culture of the sea. This enables the citizen to understand that port growth is not only an economic asset, but also contributes to the social and cultural development of the community.
Supporting the creation of a port culture or supporting the acceptance of port-city development or redevelopment projects – in the end the challenge of cultural infrastructure is the same for the decision-makers, whether for the city or the port.
Enhancing the port-city image: the port as an inspiration for architects
In a sense, the competition launched by the port of Piraeus in Greece for the reconversion of the silos into a museum is also a longer term strategic investment. Its aim is to achieve social acceptance of the presence of the port and an improvement in its relations with the city, to change the image of a port which is perceived as a barrier.
The benefits expected from the installation of high quality cultural infrastructure and public spaces here are of course associated with the fact that the passenger port is just next door, and that cruise activity is growing rapidly. The architects decided to open the building to the outside and provide views over the active port. References to the industrial past are also used in the treatment of public spaces to assert the identity of the site.
Taking inspiration from port architecture and exploiting it while respecting the logic of the site is the principle followed also in Marseilles for the various ambitious works of cultural infrastructure which have been carried out along the port-city interface. These projects have been conceived specifically as a function of the unique spirit of the location. Here port architecture becomes a tool by which identity asserts itself against the risk of standardisation. In the case of Marseilles, it is also a question of strengthening its strategic positioning on the international scene.
According to Marta Moretti, the emergence of this problem of identity, of the use of port vocabulary and memories of the city’s port history as opportunities for the creation of a new identity, is characteristic of the second generation of waterfront projects. The economic crisis appears to have brought about a change of attitude, insisting more on the re-use and exploitation of abandoned urban infrastructure. This change is a particular feature of the waterfront redevelopment operations of Northern Europe. Here, the opportunity is taken to re-think the waterfront while paying more attention to the question of sustainability and the importance of public spaces.
Citizens, partners in port performance
Port performance now is additionally measured by the degree of knowledge that a territory has of its own industrial and economic tissue. This is especially true in the case of a port-city, which often suffers from the negative and sometimes false image which its own citizens have. How then can a society be constructed which is able to contribute to economic development on the basis of its own identity?
For Hakan Fagerström (Tallink Ferry Company), the emergence of a port culture may have a positive influence on the local economic tissue of the port, but only so long as it is adopted by all the players of the port-city. The need, for economic reasons, to remain in the heart of Helsinki is particularly important for passenger transport companies, whose customers do not like to arrive in a no-man’s-land.
And it is just as important for the city to safeguard activities compatible with urban uses and to offer a berth to ships which demonstrate international trade over the port. According to Pascal Freneau of the Port of Nantes in France, ports are among the elements which structure the world, and comprehension of how trade functions is to be encouraged.
Likewise the Israeli port of Ashdod, since the port was modernised in 2005, has decided to redefine its business strategy and basic values by trying to improve its image and its relationship with the public. This step is born of the conviction that collaboration with the community and its principal institutions is an essential value for a port authority sometimes faced with a difficult social dialogue.
The creation of a Port Centre is one of the measures adopted to give back a certain pride to port workers, and in turn to show the population and the community of Ashdod the different activities and careers offered by the port. It is also a meeting point allowing the port to open its doors and show potential investors the interest shown in the territory by the various communities, institutions and companies. Its attractiveness is strengthened by a local dynamic which invests in the development of a shared port culture.
ISPS code, restricted spaces: how to create and manage cultural events in the port environment
For Jean-François Driant, Director of a major cultural infrastructure at Le Havre in France, “There is nothing that looks so like a scene in a theatre as a port basin.” The port is a tremendous vehicle for an imaginary. The only difficulty is to find a common space in which to translate this imaginary while respecting the constraints of artistic creation and the needs of port operations.
The debate underlined the fact that the ISPS Code seems particularly difficult for port authorities to get round, as was shown by the example of Guadeloupe, subjected to pressure and control by the neighbouring United States. As Harald Jaeger, CEO of the port of Valparaiso in Chile remarked, security is an asset for a port, a value to be protected. It would take many years to recover lost cruise ship passengers after an attack. For all that, the 15 years’ experience of Valparaiso, with many initiatives in the cultural, sporting, recreational, etc. fields, show that temporary partial opening of the port (10 days per year) is possible. Contributions from the floor: according to the President of the port of Bahia Blanca in Argentina, one idea is to create specific corridors inside the port, which could be financed by incorporating the cost into port dues. At Malaga, after three years of discussion, access to the wharves when there are no cruise ships in port may be possible in future.
Flexibility seems to be the key word, including being open to events generating up to a million visitors, like the Tall Ships Races. An event which, apart from the immediate benefits for the city, had a double positive impact: strengthening cooperation between city and port players, and generating financing which can subsequently be re-injected into port-city redevelopment projects.
Constructing continuity between city and port, creating an identity and reinforcing culture and the local community, in the long run is a formidable lever for economic and social development which can irrigate an entire territory.
Rotterdam: immersion day in the context of the Port Centre Network
Greta Marini, who is responsible for running the AIVP Port Centre Network, accompanied the delegation from the Port of Leghorn, an AIVP member, on an organised tour of the Port of Rotterdam, which has been also a Member of AIVP since several years.
The delegation, consisting of the executives responsible for communications services, human resources and public relations, discovered numerous local initiatives intended to bring the city’s inhabitants, especially the young, into closer contact with port activities and careers. The tour was organised in the context of an exchange of good practices with a view to setting up a Port Centre in Leghorn.
Under the direction of Henk de Bruijn at the Port of Rotterdam’s Corporate Strategy department, Nathalie Backx has particular responsibility for relations with young people and measures to increase their awareness of careers in the port. She also sets up cultural and artistic projects to further strengthen City/Port links in Rotterdam. Today there are already several sites which bear witness to a rich, innovative, modern port culture, resolutely facing the future: Futureland, EIC Mainport and the “Research, Design & Manufacture Campus”, RDM Campus. The latter, an old industrial site that was home to the “Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij” (Rotterdam Dry Dock Company), today holds several schools which collaborate directly with nearby port companies. Together with Nathalie and her colleague Maartje Berendsen, first of all we visited Futureland, the information centre for the Maasvlakte 2 project located on the construction site 45km from the city centre. The centre was opened in May 2008 by the Port Authority in collaboration with the port terminals construction company. It is managed and promoted by the Port, and now receives nearly 125,000 visitors per year. Here the object is to explain the Maasvlakte 2 construction project from the environmental, technical (notably polder construction techniques) and management angles. The Centre offers a permanent exhibition based on a fun, interactive information circuit which helps visitors to understand the challenges of an international project on such a scale. Futureland, which does not charge for entry, also offers visitors the chance to discover the site by boat and bus. A cafeteria offers people from further afield – including retired people with their families and groups of travellers attracted by the nearby beaches – a privileged view of the construction of Maasvlakte 2.
However, the Futureland initiative is linked to a construction site and is destined to disappear within a few years. This will coincide with the opening of the APM, DP World and CMA CGM terminals, and thus the arrival of the first containers. For the moment, there are no plans to continue visits to the site once it is fully operational. Discussions are under way to study the possibility of special visits, such as are already organised to other terminals at Rotterdam, for example Euromax Terminal ECT at Maasvlakte 1. These group visits are organised jointly with the EIC Mainport Rotterdam Port Centre, an educational centre directed towards industrial-port activities and an introduction to different careers associated with these areas.
When we arrived at the Port Centre (which is a member of AIVP’s Port Centre Network), the new director, Marie Dotsch, guided us round the permanent exhibition and the teaching modules aimed at a young and teenage public. 18,000 schoolchildren pass through the centre each year. They are offered guided visits on the ground coupled with a visit to the permanent exhibition. EIC is an associative, not-for-profit structure. The Port of Rotterdam has its boardroom and main office next to the industrial companies represented by the Deltalinqs group and representatives of the Shipping and Transport College.
In 2013, several public players in Rotterdam, including the port and the city, have adopted the education and awareness of young people as their mission. The port, which is the region’s biggest employer, has difficulty in finding qualified labour for careers in technical and industrial areas. For Natalie Backx, the Port Authority has been working on these aspects for a long time, trying to mobilise the economic players of the port. The creation of RDM Campus is the latest concrete manifestation of this policy. At all events, more effective coordination between the different associations, organisations and public bodies has become necessary; employment and training are a priority for the port and its surroundings.
Recently, the “Jinc” association, already very active in Amsterdam in the field of raising awareness in children aged 8 to 16, has been collaborating with the EIC Mainport Port Centre to develop immersion visits to companies in the industrial-port centre. The 10 – 12 age-group is being targeted particularly. This new partnership could double the number of visitors to EIC in the next few years. However it would appear to be necessary to target the efforts of each of the players involved more strongly. The Port of Rotterdam is also wondering how to re-focus its investments to make these different initiatives into the pillars of a better coordinated strategy. The closure of Futureland in a few years also raises the question of creating another site nearby to continue talking about the port to the many visitors to the sector. An old building close to the dredging spoil basin could be redeveloped for the purpose. However, its location a long way from the city centre remains a problem.
A bridge to link the old fortress of Leghorn with the city
At the end of this month, the city will publish notification of a project for the creation of a floating bridge. It will create a new pedestrian route between the port and the city, and improve the management of tourist flows from the Maritime Station. In the longer term, the fortress will be operated by the company managing the passenger terminal in order to hold cultural events and house the new Port Centre. (photo © AIVP)
Rotterdam: Art in the Submarine Wharf
The Port of Rotterdam, in collaboration with the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, is mounting a cultural exhibition to make the most of this exceptional port site. A ceiling more than 20 metres high has given three internationally famed artists a chance to let their imaginations run riot.
The Port of Antwerp receives the CSR Charter initiated by the Chamber of Commerce and the Province of Antwerp
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.