Briefly 2022: port cities are back in business

In the heart of a changing world

2022 will be full of significant events for the port cities of the world. Since the beginning of the year, topics related to the AIVP 2030 Agenda have been communicated by cities and ports through innovative actions. Port cities have taken center stage, combining global connectivity with locally driven activity.

For 35 years, AIVP has accompanied the incredible acceleration of globalization. The growth of trade, the free movement of people and information seemed inevitable. And then the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted that momentum. The suspension of daily activities affected economic growth while temporarily reducing our carbon emissions by a third. A perfect illustration of the relationship between economic growth and global warming. Port cities, the catalysts of globalization, have suffered from a health crisis. However, City Port players have shown resilience, demonstrating their commitment to serving the community and maintaining supply chain stability. The return to normal life has not been in focus for long in the post-pandemic context.

In February 2022, the first interstate war began in Europe after World War II. In this difficult period, AIVP expresses its support to the city of Mariupol, one of its members.

The consequences of this armed conflict involving one of the world’s largest energy powers are cataclysmic, especially for developing countries. Port cities, the main gateways for importing raw materials from Russia and Ukraine, must respond to the next geopolitical turmoil. With the help of the United Nations, ships loaded with grain can leave Ukraine to protect global food security, and most of this cargo is transported from the port city of Odessa. The crisis that has hit us, partly due to inflation due to the increase in the cost of sea transport, should prompt us to think about a new model of sustainable development. In the 20th century, port cities were the cradles of the modern industrial economyc century is an excellent laboratory for those who want to imagine the sustainable economy of the future.

Globalization, a dear subject for the AIVP, has not disappeared, as evidenced by the current rise in world consumption despite rising prices. The change that started before our eyes is mostly in the displacement of the main productions, in the concept of “friendship”. [1] , and in raising environmental awareness. Our port cities have a role to play in contributing to the success of this global adventure. This is what AIVP is trying to do during 2022. This is also the mission it has set itself for 2023 with ever-renewing passion. The topic of energy transition or the blue economy, among others, were the main themes for port cities experiencing a permanent state of crisis (climate crisis, health crisis or armed conflicts) for the first time this year. Short-term uncertainty has become the norm, raising the issue of risk management and anticipation. What influences the interactions between port cities as well as decisions about their future development options.

Our most covered topics this year

The energetic transition was one of the main topics of the year. Many port cities actively contribute to this by implementing innovative strategies. On the occasion of the One Ocean Summit [2] In February, ports around the world committed to reducing the environmental impact of ships in ports by 2028. Organized by the AIVP as part of a mission led by our President Eduard Philippe, the debates highlighted key measures such as coastal flow and the development of tariff incentives. . AIVP and its network play an increasingly important role in this regard. This is demonstrated by the MAGPIE project (sMArt Green Ports as Integrated Efficient multimodal hubs), in which AIVP and its two oldest members, the Port of Rotterdam and the Port of HAROPA, are actively involved. [3] . The initiative focuses on developing green, smart and integrated multimodal ports through non-technological technical solutions. Port cities around the world are working to support the local energy transition by promoting the decarbonisation of maritime transport. [4] and investment in green fuel or renewable energy [5]. Ports are constantly looking for innovations to decarbonize their operations.

2022 was an important year in the making green sea corridors aimed at accelerating the decarbonization process. The rise of these corridors follows the signing of the Clydebank declaration [6] On the occasion of COP26 (2021) in Glasgow. Although green corridors are mostly still in the planning stages, such cooperation between major ports will promote the decarbonisation of the maritime sector through coastal energy and quantitatively carbon-free fuel production. Dozens of such agreements have been signed, and several countries are trying to include container ships and cruise ships. It will be interesting to see how the cities near these ports will adopt the concept. Remember that ports are not the final destination of goods and are only one link in the global supply chain. This implies challenges for port cities: to develop the hinterland supply chain as carbon-free as possible by making greater use of rail or river; develop cabotage (zero-emission ships, sailing, etc.) by attracting medium-sized port cities that have been more or less excluded from world trade for the past two decades.

Blue economy It has become the new focus of post-Covid countries, regions, port cities and international organizations. An important tool for sustainable socio-economic revitalization at the local level, it was at the heart of discussions at the UN Conference on Oceans. [7]COP27 [8] and the 17th AIVP World Conference in Tangier [9]. As a cross-sectoral topic, the blue economy requires the cooperation of stakeholders, especially when it comes to making the sector more sustainable. Substantial funds have been allocated to support the blue economy of port cities that have suffered during the pandemic. The cruise industry has been invited to rethink maritime tourism and develop more sustainable practices by engaging host cities and civil society. Cities remain centers of innovation in this regard, as they know how to federate key actors supporting the implementation of projects. According to estimates, 50% of the funds for the energy supply of the bridges came from state subsidies.

Another recurring theme: adaptation to climate change [10]. As more and more cities and ports feel the effects of climate change with longer droughts, stronger storms and rising sea levels, the debate this year has also focused on how port cities can adapt. Nature-based solutions, flood-prone coastal infrastructure, remedies are varied. Coastline renaturation plays a protective role and allows the development of new ecosystems, which is an important factor in ensuring the stability of ocean ecosystem services. Conservation of marine biodiversity took center stage at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity [11].

And now?

The new year should show the continuation of the projects started in 2022. AIVP will continue to support its members in establishing Port Centers. As the issues of the blue economy and climate change gain momentum, there will be a need to create a forum for discussions as well as involving citizens in future debates on marine spatial planning, a topic to be discussed at the UN Water Conference in 2023. Green corridors in the pipeline should see the light of day and allow for the reduction of emissions from the marine sector, and projects for offshore wind turbines and bunkering stations for alternative fuels are underway. Lots of topics to fuel discussion during the next AIVP Meetings in Venice, Italy on 16 and 17 November 2023. [12].

Thank you for this wonderful 2022!

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