Heritage as an asset
The specific identity of our port cities comes mainly from their port heritage. Re-using that heritage to redevelop a site and enhance its appeal is a strategy that features regularly in our publications. Currently, some new examples have been seen. These include redeveloping warehouses and converting them for new uses, such as the Fénix Museum in Rotterdam or concert halls in Brussels. Also in the Belgian capital, the former Tour&Taxis ferry terminal which dates from the early 20th century is set to be turned into offices, shops and leisure facilities, housed in a sustainable building. These transformative projects are also an opportunity for architects to suggest ways of increasing urban density, by grafting new additions onto existing buildings. Examples include a former industrial mill in Dublin, and an old shipbuilding plant in Brisbane. Investors are often among the first to spot the potential offered by existing heritage, as shown with the buildings recently put up for sale at the listed Sullivans Cove site in Hobart (Tasmania).
The winning design for the new passenger terminal in Valencia (Spain) has been announced
The Port of Valencia has opted for the project proposed by Baleària. Due to be built on the site of a former shipyard, the sustainable terminal will be powered by renewable energy and will be 100% self-sufficient. It will also house a centre for innovation and eco-efficiency, along with a cultural space. The Mayor of Valencia has suggested creating a tunnel to access the terminal, in addition to a pedestrian and cycle route, as a way of reducing the building’s impact on the local landscape. The port has given the green light and is set to carry out a technical feasibility study.
The Port of Amsterdam official opens a sustainable, “circular” building using geothermal energy, solar power, specially chosen materials, …
In Ghent (Belgium), a primary school and crèche are under construction at a disused port site
The port of Dublin: ever closer integration with the City
The Port of Dublin has unveiled the Liffey-Tolka project, with plans for a 1.4 km dedicated cycle and pedestrian route between the river Liffey and the Tolka estuary, through Dublin port lands. It will bring cyclists and pedestrians from the Liffey to the start of a second Port-City integration project, the Tolka Estuary Greenway, a 3.2 km route along the northern perimeter of the port. These green links will provide safe thoroughfares while providing better views of the port and its activities, symbolising the commitment to Port-City integration highlighted by the Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, Eamon O’Reilly. That commitment is also reflected in the masterplan for 2040, with plans for the Alexandra Dock area including the redevelopment of a former flour mill. It will house spaces to present the port archives and its current activities, two 300-seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.
New governance for the Deux-Rives project in Strasbourg (France), with a new president and joint management by the SPL (publicly-owned local development corporation) and the SEM (public-private partnership)
The City of El Puerto (Spain) looks to regain control of its river
The Mayor of El Puerto and the President of the Port of Cadiz have together unveiled plans to redevelop the area along both banks of the Guadalete. The project includes a new riverside promenade running for 1.7 km along the right bank, which will be divided into ten zones designed to showcase the city’s identity, including traditional shipbuilding and wine. Information points, public stages for cultural events and performances, as well as new green spaces, landscaped areas and sports and leisure facilities will be available by 2022. Meanwhile on the left bank, water sports activities will be developed, and the fishing port will be integrated. The local population will be invited to participate in the projects.
Boston looks to tackle climate change
The recently opened public debate provided an opportunity to look at the various options and solutions for the different waterfront precincts, in response to the short, medium and long term challenges posed by rising sea levels and flooding caused by climate change. So-called “resilience” solutions discussed with residents and businesses in the districts affected include raising sections of the waterfront, and some roads and cycle lanes, raising existing public spaces or creating new ones, redeveloping the port promenade, and installing new coastal protection measures. Most of these solutions should be completed by 2030.
Engaging everyone in port-city governance
One of the main challenges for healthy port-city relationships is getting citizens involved in the governance. Several port cities are innovating in this aspect and show a renewed philosophy. The port of Bahía Blanca in Argentina is starting the second stage of its program, “Puerto Abierto (Open Port)”, entitled “El Puerto Dialoga (The Port in Dialogue)”. After the diagnosis of the first stage, now the port will meet virtually with representatives from all relevant institutions, from companies to environmentalists or universities, to discuss on concrete actions. The final stage will be agreeing on the projects and developing them. The final goal is to find synergies for an integral development plan. Another example of citizen consultation can be found in the expansion plan for the Port Seine-Métropole Ouest, in greater Paris, France. The consultation started in September and will continue until the end of the month, as a crucial part of the process that started in late 2013. In order to have a sustainable port-city relationship it is crucial to develop common port city vision, following a holistic engagement based on collaborative decision-making, as the President and CEO of the Halifax (video) Port Authority clearly said in a recent statement.
Human Capital Development, from children to port workers
Port Cities offer unique career paths and personal development opportunities, linked to port activities. But these must be supported with concrete actions as we have seen this week. For example, in the case of Rotterdam there is the Port Rangers educational program developed by the municipality, port authority and business association. This program explains to youngsters the key aspects of the ports, with the contribution of experts, such as AIVP’s expert Maurice Jansen. In this port city other initiatives for young talents include the Young Maritime Board or the Young Port Talent Program. In other countries like Spain, the national authority Puertos del Estado has demonstrated the increasing interest in port innovation links to research with the Ports 4.0 fund, that registered more than 120 applications in its first edition. The connection between universities and ports is becoming stronger, with cases like Huelva, where the local port and university will start a joint master program in logistics. Another key aspect of Human Capital Development is guaranteeing the health and good working conditions of employees, as the port of Bilbao is doing and has been recognized for with an award. Another key issue is to encourage port workers to develop ideas that can improve their working environment and recognize these efforts. One example of this is the port of Trieste (video), where the workers developed an innovative ladder to improve their safety when inspecting bulk cargo ships.
New transport connection in Riga will reduce congestion in the port, reduce its environmental impact and include pedestrian and bicycle paths
New monitoring stations will help the port of Algeciras to assess air quality and improve the quality of life of local citizens
Education and dialogue: two crucial elements of sustainable port-city relationships
The complexity of port-city territories demands constant dialogue between institutions and citizens, supported with educational actions. This is clear for the Chilean ports of San Antonio and Valparaiso. In the case of San Antonio, the port joined the webinar “educate to create” along with municipality to explain how the port functions and its relevance for the city, where it has offered great social support. In Valparaiso, the port company requested the local universities to join the debate about the port future. In port cities like Marseille, local politicians, including the special rapporteur for maritime affairs and ports, are demanding to enlarge the port-city debate to include the citizens. In this frameworks Port Centers are crucial tools to support educational programs and citizen dialogue.
Best ways to we disclose port city culture
The port-city connection is not only economic and environmental, but also cultural. This week we have seen several ways to disclose the port city culture. One option is to collaborate with local events and institutions. The port of Dublin is cooperating with the local Festival of History in a series of online events. In other ports, like Lisbon, the port authority also collaborated with the Museo do Oriente in the framework of the European Heritage Days with free visits. In Spain, for example the port of Seville just signed a cooperation protocol with the regional heritage institute to study and protect the port’s industrial heritage. Another option is to host port days, as the port of Leixões just did, even though this year’s edition took place virtually. In a similar way, the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority (Genoa and Savona) is preparing the 2020 edition of their port day including visits, lectures and exhibitions. Other activities to disclose port-city culture are historic pedestrian rallies, as the one from the port of Quebec, Canada. Finally, ports can also contribute to the city’s cultural life be hosting exhibitions in their historical venues, as the port of Valencia is doing.
In Europe and America, city-port integration stays on course despite the crisis
The threat of a “second wave” hanging over Europe and the severity of the epidemic in America have not cut short the process of city-port integration, which is often an effective means of tackling the crisis.
In Valparaiso (Chile), representatives of the tourist industry, the municipality and the port came together to find joint solutions involving the city, port and businesses to get tourism going again. Nor has the crisis dimmed the commitment of associations and public bodies to work together in cooperation with the port. In Long Beach (United States), the port authority has even released new funding to kick-start port-city projects of this kind.
In Europe, city-port integration projects are continuing, while economic recovery plans are being refined. In Santa-Cruz de Tenerife (Spain), the port is looking at more than 20 societal integration projects to benefit citizens, and the city is set to buy 2,500m² of port land to build an infants’ centre.
Innovation and intellectual cooperation: crucial for cutting carbon emissions in port cities
With climate change contributing to more and more instances of forests fire and flooding around the world, innovative solutions are emerging to make port and urban activities greener. In France, port authorities in Paris have commissioned a major study of river traffic and the energy transition, aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of shipping on the Seine. Meanwhile, the port of Abu Dhabi (UAE) has targeted smart solutions, with an optimisation plan that aims to halve carbon emissions from its container traffic.
Private-sector businesses have a big part to play in this global effort. In South Korea, the giants Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and Samsung have joined forces to develop smart technologies that will cut atmospheric pollution from shipping.
Between the ports of Leixões and Bobadela (Portugal), food shipments will now be sent by rail to cut carbon emissions.
A collaborative effort between the Port Authority of Seville (Spain) and the Higher Council for Scientific Research, the project to protect aquatic bird life at the mouth of the Guadalquivir has been named the winner of the “2020 Environment Award”.
[Correction]: in our previous newsletter, we wrote in the article “Wood pellets, natural gas and wind power: how port cities are renewing their energy mix” that a field of offshore wind turbines was being installed in St-Brieuc. In fact, the turbines will be installed in Brest, and the parts were being delivered from St-Brieuc.
In Sète (France), cold ironing facilities will be installed by Enedis within two years
➜ Le Marin
Mozambique and Malawi sign a deal to strengthen rail freight to Mozambique’s ports
Danish shipping line Maersk says no to LNG and “megamax” ships of more than 20,000 TEUs
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The “Port of the Future” will first and foremost be an “integrated” port
The flagship theme of the European “Docks The Future” project, which culminates this week, the “Port of the Future” concept appears to combine digital innovation and the energy transition. On the digital side, in Barcelona (Spain), a consortium that includes the port authority along with IBM, Vodafone and Huawei, is set to develop 5G services. In the same vein, Singapore’s maritime authority is funding eleven projects that are intended to speed up the digitisation of the shipping industry. Meanwhile, on the energy side, a string of initiatives are aiming to reduce carbon emissions. A floating offshore wind hub is set to be created in Cromarty Firth (Scotland), while in Agadir (Morocco), solar power is being harnessed with a “solar caravan”. To each their own resources! Yet UNCTAD is most concerned with highlighting societal integration, particularly in Valencia (Spain), where the port foundation has provided strong support to SMEs during the crisis. Citizens’ aspirations are looking to a greener “port of the future”, whereas a shock survey by Yale University and Climate Nexus (USA) shows that a majority of Americans are ready to change their habits to support greener shipping.
A new transhipment terminal for food industry products is to be built in Seattle (United States)
In Antwerp (Belgium), “BoxCatcher” technology is enabling smart container management using mobile rail-mounted cameras
New containerised coastal shipping line between the ports of Kribi and Douala (Cameroon): decarbonising infra-regional transport?
Wood pellets, natural gas and wind power: how port cities are renewing their energy mix
LNG, one of the keys to cleaner maritime shipping, is undoubtedly experiencing a rapid rise in popularity, and a new LNG terminal is due to enter service soon in Livorno (Italy), after 24 months of work. On the other side of the world it is a similar story, with Johor (Malaysia) now fuelling vessels with LNG. However, electricity seems to be the way ahead when it comes to reducing onshore carbon emissions. Wind turbines, highly efficient in coastal areas, have been targeted by the port of Zhuhai (China) which has acquired stakes in two companies specialising in wind power. Offshore turbines offer another solution, as in St-Brieuc (France) where work on construction of a farm of 62 turbines continues, with the necessary parts currently being delivered from Brest. Older technologies also remain important, the oldest among them being none other than wood! A Norwegian company based in Oslo supplies the city of Rotterdam (Netherlands) with pellets, which combust relatively cleanly and generate large amounts of energy.