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.
The fisherman’s wharf (Muelle Pescadores) of Bahía Blanca (Argentina) will be refurbished by the Port Authority to improve the working conditions of the fishing community and welcome visitors.
The port of Port of Trois-Rivières (Canada) supports local artists by acquiring the Hommage au Saint-Laurent collection of canvas artworks.
How to improve the water quality while protecting the biodiversity?
Water quality is one of the priorities in port cities and there are many ways to improve it. In the Balearic Islands (Spain), the Port has deployed an innovative system to collect marine waste that includes a catamaran powered by solar energy, a semi-rigid hybrid boat and a modern electric drone to reach the most inaccessible areas. Nature-based solutions are also possible, as it is visible in the port of Gothenburg (Sweden), where the port planted eelgrass beds. These serve as protection for several fish species, while at the same time help to improve water quality and protect beaches from erosion. It is also necessary to monitor closely the quality of the water for submarine species. One positive example of this is the port of Ceuta (Spain) that is promoting the Sentinel Stations project in the port area through marine biological indicators, such as microalgae, sedimentation or the concentration of micro-plastics.
Innovative mobility in port cities: logistics, waterbuses and bus stops
French water transport is increasingly relevant in construction site logistics. Key stakeholders, including HAROPA and the municipality, are collaborating to promote river logistics for the Olympic Games of 2024 in Paris, including the construction of the Olympic village. In Strasbourg (France), 6 tonnes of paving stones have been delivered for the first time using barges and bicycles took place, reducing the impact of construction material logistics. Innovative logistics also concerns passengers, such as the new waterbuses in the Province of South Holland, since 6 will be hybrid and 3 electric. User’s experience is one of the key aspects in public transport, as it is clear in the new self-sufficient bus stops financed by port authority of Algeciras (Spain). The new canopies include solar panels to power the lighting and will allow the user to charge its phone while waiting for the bus.
Online debate about port city heritage organized by Venice Port
In the framework of the European Project REMEMBER, the port of Venice is organizing an online event on the 24th of November at 10:00 (CET) entitled “Cultural heritage as a driver of port cities’ sustainable development”. This online talk, will include the intervention of the Special Commissioner of Venice Port, Mr Pino Musolino, UNESCO’s assistant director, Mr. Ernesto Ottone Ramírez; Prof. Carola Hein and AIVP’s International Project Manager José M P Sánchez to share ideas about Port Centers. The project REMEMBER is focused on making natural and cultural heritage a leverage for sustainable and more balanced territorial development. Several AIVP members are involved, including the ports of Venice, Trieste and Dubrovnik.
National Institute of Social Services and Port Authority sign an agreement in Bahía Blanca (Argentina) to strength the bond of the elderly with the city and the port with new actions.
Solidarity in the Vieux Port of Montreal (Canada). The Port will help the homeless in the Grand Quai with shelter, meals and health service.
➜ La Presse
The quest for innovation of the Port of Algeciras, member of AIVP, rewarded by a European prize
The 2020 edition of the ESPO awards for social integration of ports focused on innovation strategies and capacity of ports to attract start-ups into its ecosystem. The online award ceremony took place last week, recognizing the good work done by the Port of Algeciras (Spain), particularly the “the Innovation Journey” project. This project is part of a broader innovation strategy that will help the port to exceed its traditional roles as a landlord, and turn it into a business and efficiency partner. It will contribute to the port-city relationship, by creating new jobs for the local population. This broader strategy is complemented with a physical facility that will include a Port Center.
The other 3 finalists were the Port of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Puertos del Estado (Spain) and Port of Lisbon (Portugal), all AIVP members as well. Their projects included respectively the Prodock, an innovation hub focused on circular economy, the Ports 4.0 Fund, a national program to foster open innovation in the port-logistics ecosystem and the Ocean Campus, an ambitious plan for the waterfront creating an ecosystem of excellence in RD&I, bringing together researchers, entrepreneurs, main companies, academics and experts in the sea-related field.
AIVP was part of the jury evaluating the project, as it has been since the first edition of the award.
Citizens invited to express their opinions in Saint-Malo (France). The region of Brittany is hosting a consultation process including physical meetings and online tools.
New project led by Port of Rotterdam to foster hydrogen powered trucks by 2025 in central Europe. The project has the potential of reducing 100k tons of CO2 per year. This initiative is aligned with the 7 “building blocks” for the port of the future recently published by the port of Rotterdam.
Public investment and financial aid in port cities
After the first wave of cultural and social initiatives, port cities around the globe are presenting their plans for the post-covid recovery. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has communicated a package of $27 million of financial support for companies, as well as for professionals training and employment support. In the USA, the ports of LA and Seattle have presented renewed infrastructural investments plan. In the case of LA, the port will invest $367million to reduce the impact on the local economy and employment, while in Seattle the plan includes $1.5billion in 20 projects, including also airport facilities. At the same time, in Spain, the ports of Valencia and Bilbao have followed a similar path. While in Valencia the port presented a financial aid package of €57,2 million to support local port companies, the port of Bilbao announced that their investment plan for 2020 will reach €67 million, to support the economy and employment creation.
The sustainable port is both smart and collective
The CEOs of the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam have laid out converging visions for the future development of their respective ports, one having just returned from the World Economic Forum, the other speaking about in an interview about forward-looking prospect for the port. Both agree that the fight against climate change and the need for a carbon-neutral port economy are absolutely crucial. Technological innovation, both onshore and offshore, and moves to optimise logistics chains, will of course form part of the solution. Beyond that, however, the success of these changes will depend on the ability of ports to forge new partnerships and work collectively, by bringing their communities together around a shared process of transformation.
➜ Port of Rotterdam / Flows
To ease congestion on the roads, the Port of Melbourne (Australia) has confirmed plans to develop its rail infrastructure (with a €16 million investment)
Kribi (Cameroon): first 31 businesses now setting up in the port zone, with another 150 set to follow.
Vlissingen – North Sea Port (Netherlands): first developments for the Borsele 1+2 offshore wind farm that will eventually provide power to a million homes
Major trends and scenarios for the evolution of logistics
In the majority of port cities, logistics activity is increasingly structuring the territory. Marking out the future of this sector is becoming necessary. To this effect, the Urban Planning Agency of Marseille (France) remind us of a few key points. The massification of world trade flows will continue leading to the concentration of shipowners, the adaptation of ports, the extension and robotisation of warehouses, the emergence of single operators. In the era of e-commerce, the optimisation of the last mile has also become crucial. Nevertheless, land transport remains the weak link in this ecosystem with difficulties in massifying flows and proportionally a heavier CO2 impact. Pooling could be part of the answer but not all sectors believe in it. At the heart of these developments, the issue of employment appears to be an additional challenge for the territories.
Rwanda: Four ports on Lake Kivu earmarked as an alternative to road transport
Lake Kivu in western Rwanda marks the border with the neighbouring DRC. The four ports will be built with the help of the Netherlands, and spread out from the north to the south of the lake. They will promote improved mobility for passengers and goods between the various districts along the bank. Within twenty years, they should handle the majority of commercial cross-border trade and some 3 million passengers. The Government is also keen to use the ports as a platform for more ambitious plans to kick-start water-based transport on other lakes and rivers in Rwanda. The aim is to reduce the use of onshore transport infrastructures, maintenance of which represents a significant portion of the national budget. Finally, the project will help to boost competitiveness for both the food industry (beer, tea, coffee) and the cement industry, while also giving a lift to the tourist sector.