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Author(s): Norbert Kouwenhoven, Martin Borrett, Milind Wakankar, IBM

Critical infrastructure in any country’s context can be defined as physical facilities, supply chains, intangible assets, communication networks etc. whose destruction or unavailability for an extended period would seriously impact the health, safety, security or economic wellbeing of that country, its citizens and expats, or could cause a large scale loss of life, major social disturbance or mass casualties. Ports are such critical infrastructures.

They are a key facilitator in international trade and logistics, and they play a unique role in global supply chain activities. The key function of a seaport as a connection point between sea and inland transportation substantiates its importance to a regional economy. In the EU, sea ports play an important role facilitating the European Union's external trade (90 percent of the total, in terms of weight) and internal market exchanges (43 percent of the total). Industries and services belonging to the maritime sector contribute between three and five percent of EU gross domestic product (GDP), and maritime regions produce more
than 40 percent of Europe’s GDP.i Ports are nodal points of inter-modal logistic chains. They are key for the sustainable growth of transport in Europe…

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