Incoming International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) President Subramaniam Karuppiah has said maritime infrastructure is vital to keeping the global supply chain flowing and called upon stakeholders to collaborate more closely.
In a statement, the IAPH said stakeholders do not always realise how challenging it is to improve maritime infrastructure, which involves complex planning procedures, including environmental impact assessments, extensive stakeholder dialogue and complex government approval policies.
During the closing session of the IAPH World Ports Conference, Karuppiah said, “We cannot overlook the fact that the lead time for building new port infrastructure is much more complex and costly – and therefore takes much longer – than that of building a new ship.
“Especially when it comes to ships with new fuel requirements, such as LNG, methanol and ammonia, much higher and more complex investments will be required on land than in the shipyard.
“As mentioned by several port CEOs during the conference, achieving this in a sustainable manner – both economically and from an environmental standpoint – will require much closer cooperation between shipping and ports than we currently see, and will also require working closely with the energy majors and future providers of bunker fuel for these new ships.”
IAPH’s outgoing president Santiago Garcia-Milà also commented, “Some shipowners mentioned that the disruptions that we have seen lately are due to infrastructural bottlenecks, some which were present already before the pandemic.
“As we have seen during the conversations this week, I do agree optimising port operations through better data collaboration and ensuring 24/7 operations are certainly priorities we should work on collectively.
“However, the scale of funding that is needed to expand physical infrastructure is in a different league to shipping, also requiring complex public-private partnerships.”