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 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
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.
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.