Application of approximate performance indicators for master planning of large ports



Max Schreuder, Senior Port Planner, DHV Group, Amersfoort, The Netherlands



A port master plan provides a framework for the future development of a port with its terminals, logistic zones, industrial areas, and main transportation infrastructure. The master planning process generally consists of four main steps:

1. The investigation of strategy and objectives in terms of shipping, logistics, and industrial development. The forecast of future developments, including shipping and inland traffic flows.

2. The translation of these objectives into requirements, expressed in land surfaces for various purposes, required waterfront and related back-up areas for various types of terminals, nautical access and port basin requirements, engineering requirements, and various other requirements related with inland transport connections, safety, environmental aspects and landscaping, etc.

3. The translation of these requirements into alternative concepts for major port components considering physical and environmental conditions.

4. The selection of an optimum long-term master plan, with an indication of the logical timing of the various phases of development.

In an ideal situation, the future users of a (new) port area would all be known. Step 1 and 2 of the planning process would result in an excellent set of port development requirements, based on wellthought plans of the individual future users. When a major new port is intended for one specific type of service, for example a large container terminal, this nearly ideal situation may occur indeed. Steps 3 and 4 can then be carried out on a very solid basis using various simulation techniques, in close consultation with the future user(s). An example of such a situation is the planning of the Pusan Newport in Korea (see Figure 1).

However, port planners will not often encounter the ideal situation indicated above. Potential future port users including port related industries, will generally only make up their mind or disclose information as to their specific developments in a certain region when the basic port infrastructure has been constructed (or will definitely become available in the near future). The promoter of a large port project must then use the best possible judgement for developing a sound master plan. Given the various uncertainties, zoning and planning must be as flexible as possible for accommodating various possible scenarios.

Approximate performance indicators

An important component of Step 2 of the planning process involves the translation of the basic objectives into requirements expressed in land surfaces and length of waterfront and related back-up areas for various types of terminals. For such assessments one may use general performance indicators, if no actual data on the planned projects in the region are available. From various sources the port planner should derive a number of average productivity indicators that relate the surface area of particular main types of industries or port activities to the total “production” per year in the area concerned. These performance indicators are expressed in million ton per hectare per year (Mton/ha/year) or mTEU/ha/year for port logistic operations. As the figures are estimated from actual situations, they take into account that even in the ultimate development of a port or industrial zone, not all sites are optimally used. Areas kept in reserve for future extension and possible chances of original plans will result in less than optimal use of certain sites.

Remarkably, the average productivity indicators for quite different type of industries (for instance in the field of cement production, wood pulp production or in the petrochemical sector) are of the same order of magnitude.

For translation of the shipping (cargo flow) forecasts into quantitative requirements expressed in length of waterfront similar performance indicators can be used expressed in number of TEU handled per m1 quay per year (TEU/m1/year) or Mton/ m1/year for other types of cargo.

Some productivity indicators for approximate planning purposes are presented in Table 1.

The annual quay or “waterfront” capacity of various types of marine terminals (for crude oil, oil products, coal, grain, etc.) largely depends on the general ship sizes and arrangements for handling such trades in a particular port.


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