Majority of ports holding firm to environmental sustainability investments

A new survey confirms 45% of ports' investments in environmental sustainability remain on track.

The latest IAPH-WPSP Port Economic Impact Barometer survey confirms 45% investments in environmental sustainability remain on track and 32% with a slight delay. 4% have been accelerated and 2% have additional funds. 15% have incurred major delays and only 2% have been shelved.

IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven said that “a long-term integrated approach towards port environmental sustainability is the best way of combating this current crisis as well as future ones. Joined-up initiatives on climate change mitigation, energy transition, and data collaboration in combination with a coherent business continuity plan will reduce risks to ports’ businesses and enhance resilience.”

The survey also points towards momentary stabilization in the four main areas of port operations.  Almost without exception, figures are holding steady at low levels in terms of hinterland transport delays, high warehouse and storage capacity utilization and shortages of port-related workers.

“It is noticeable for the first time that delays for trucks at both gate and for cross border trade, inland barge operations and rail services have all fallen back to single digits,” said co-author Professor Theo Notteboom.  “The number of ports reporting less container and cargo vessel calls compared to normal are, for the moment, holding steady at 35 and 40% respectively.”

The cruise and passenger sector remains the most impacted, with 51% of respondents indicating that passenger vessel calls are down more than 50%, in many cases even down more than 90%. Since late August, only a few cruise operators have resumed some cruise activity, albeit on a very small scale compared to normal activity levels. For some ports, this implies that cruise ship calls will no longer remain at almost zero levels.

For passenger ferry services, co-author Professor Thanos Pallis commented: “The picture remains mixed with many ferry calls almost back to normal schedules but with fewer passengers onboard. Some ports testified that even though passenger vessel calls are at reasonably decent levels, the number of passengers is as low as minus 70 to minus 80 percent.”

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