Dr. Alfred J. Baird, Head, TRi Maritime Research Group, Napier University, Edinburgh.
The primary function of seaports is to facilitate trade. To do this effectively demands that seaports offer and maintain higher levels of efficiency at reducing cost. Seaports must be able to achieve these aims whilst also ensuring that what they do is environmentally sustainable.
In summary, it should be recognised that the lifecycle of shallow and congested/saturated traditional cityports has been artificially extended, and this process is being allowed to continue, more often than not with the aid of local/state taxpayers money, and in some instances federal resources as well (e.g. dredging in the USA, Germany, The Netherlands etc.). This is hardly a sustainable process, either environmentally or financially. It is a locally politically motivated process that totally ignores the availability of sustainable and low-cost natural deep-water alternative locations elsewhere in today’s vast port hinterland. It is a process that will need to be put right, and hopefully sooner rather than later.