Port infrastructure

Sustainable port development

Courtesy of maribe.eu


By 2050, in support of the visions aforementioned under port operations and integrating maritime and hinterland logistics, the following infrastructure concepts are envisaged:

  • Adaptive near shore extensions and offshore ports
  • Flexible and resilient solutions to future ship types, hinterland logistics, new port activities and climate
  • Facilities for zero emissions energy (re)generation and supply for ships, port activities and society
  • Cutting-edge adaptive secure communication and IT architecture (real time information, etc.)
  • Strategic traffic and port management (interaction with autonomous vessels and port operators)
  • Ship-assist infrastructure (smart berths, towage, mooring, MARPOL, bunkering, etc.)
  • City-port-nature oriented planning (building with nature smart industry, coastal recreation, etc.)
  • Leisure and business integrated hubs for passenger transport, integrated links to public transport, city and local tourism sector


Port infrastructure is the base for port operations to serve both the vessel and the cargo and passengers than pass through the ports.

The development of port infrastructures require large capital investments and a long lead-time and thus a long-term planning. Therefore, the design of port infrastructure should anticipate the needs of the waterborne, logistics and transport sector. This is a special difficult task when the transport and logistics sector is immersed in a deep transformation, as it is the case, affecting both the maritime side and the inland side (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 maritime activities (blue growth) and to other external factors such as new extreme weather conditions derived from climate change.

There is a need for the design of more flexible, intelligent and resilient port infrastructures able to adapt to the future requirements. The European waterborne sector should identify and develop different lines of research and innovations in order to adapt port infrastructures to this vision of the future.

The Waterborne sector wants to lead a long-term business transition; ports infrastructure will become adaptive to new ships and offshore activities supporting blue growth, resilient to further scalability. Connectivity and integration will be developed to such an extent that continuity will be ensured among different transport modalities and different ships and vehicles.

Infrastructure must be resilient to environmental challenges. In order to accommodate a fast uptake of the energy transition, clarity is needed on the most likely transition path. Furthermore, development of new, more flexible solutions for bunkering and energy storage are required to enhance the resilience of investments in alternative fuels.

Infrastructure investments should also be intelligent and be able to collect data in order to be able to solve all needs 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 into a sustainable manner.

The social, political and regulatory elements are fundamental to future changes in the sector. The workers, the inhabitants of the cities annexed to the ports, etc. are the main assets of the sector as both customers and suppliers of labour to ensure the sustainability and viability of the infrastructures through which the cargo and the information associated therewith move.


c/o SEA Europe, Rue de la Loi, 67 (4th floor), Brussels B-1000, Belgium

Tel. +32 2 230 2791



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