Sustainable port development


Port infrastructures will increasingly support and become integrated with port operations and waterborne and hinterland logistics by adapting near shore extensions and offshore ports and by establishing flexible and resilient solutions for future ship and vessel types, hinterland logistics, new port activities and climate change. In this respect, new facilities for the (re)generation of zero emissions energy and green supply for ships, vessels, port activities and society will be developed. Cutting-edge adaptive secure communication and IT architecture (real time information, etc.) will be introduced to the benefit of strategic traffic and port management and ship-assist infrastructure (smart berths, towage, mooring, MARPOL, bunkering, etc.). Furthermore, city-port-nature oriented planning (building with nature, smart industry, coastal recreation, etc.) will promote leisure and business integrated hubs for passenger transport, closely linked to public transport, the cities and the local tourism sector.


The port infrastructure is the base for port operations to serve the vessel, cargo and passengers which pass through ports. The development of port infrastructures requires capital-intensive investments, a long lead-time and therefore long-term planning. This means that the design of port infrastructures should anticipate the needs of the Waterborne, logistics and transport sector. This is an especially difficult task at a time when the transport and logistic sector is immersed in a deep transformation, as is currently the case, affecting both maritime and inland aspects (new fuels, autonomous transport and cargo handling, self-organising logistics, new business models, etc.). Furthermore, port infrastructures should also anticipate and adapt to the development of new waterborne activities (blue growth) and to other external factors, such as new extreme weather conditions resulting from climate change. There is a need to design more flexible, intelligent and resilient port infrastructures which are able to adapt to future requirements. The European Waterborne sector should identify and develop different lines of research and innovation in order to adapt port infrastructures to this vision of the future.

The Waterborne sector wishes to lead a long-term business transition; port infrastructures will become adaptive to new ships, vessels, inland waterways and offshore activities supporting blue growth, which are suited to further scalability. Connectivity and integration will be developed to ensure continuity among different transport modalities and different ships, vessels and vehicles. Infrastructure must be resilient to environmental challenges. To accommodate the fast implementation of the energy transition, clarity is needed on the most likely transition path. Furthermore, the development of new, more flexible solutions for bunkering and energy storage is required to enhance the resilience of investments in alternative fuels. Infrastructure should also integrate intelligent technologies and efforts should be made to allow infrastructures to be able to collect data in order to meet all requirements from the point of view of the market and the maintenance of the infrastructures themselves. Within European ports, infrastructure will be developed following the paradigm of city-port-nature oriented planning, cohesively linking shipping to the territory in a sustainable manner. The social, political and regulatory elements are fundamental to future changes in the sector. The workers and the inhabitants of the cities annexed to the ports, etc. are the sector’s main assets as both customers and suppliers of labour to ensure the sustainability and viability of the infrastructures through which the cargo and the associated information move.