Sustainable Port Development Strategy – Governance a Key Component

Sustainable Port Development Strategy – Governance a Key Component

Ports, as important nodes in maritime transport, have a significant influence on the economic, social, and environmental development of countries on a local, regional, and national level. Recently, sustainability issues are becoming a critical component of maritime logistics. In order to achieve sustainable business, governments (or other types of decision makers) implement port governance structures with clear policy goals. Port Governance refers to the interactions between the public and private sectors that influence port organization at various levels, from local to global. This concept of Governance has one primary goal to achieve i.e., to simplify trade and facilitate seamless movement of the supply chain. This is often achieved by interconnecting port authorities, regulators, other government agencies with private stakeholders such as transporters, forwarders, terminal operators, carriers, etc.

Port Authority holds an important role as initiator and creator of the port development strategy and coordination of the entire Port Community. As the port authority is responsible for safe, sustainable, and competitive development of the seaport, it may represent the most important factor of Port Community System (PCS) implementation. The implementation of the PCS can provide benefits for the port authority because port authorities will be able to coordinate port activities more easily, monitor the activities of port operators and control port operations. Given the maritime trade and its complexity, Port need to improve their competitive position and Government, therefore, should go beyond the Single Window with the creation of an overarching enhanced trade facilitation framework in the form of a PCS to drive sustainability. Here is how the convergence of technology, governance and sustainability sets the future roadmap for Ports of the world:


This is the process through which government and public enterprises divest their ownership and transfer it to the private entities to achieve maximum throughput of port management through proper Port Governance. While decentralization has unquestionably formed part of port reforms and has had positive effects. Devolution can bring more efficiency and transparency with planning and strategies for port development needed to serve the wider national interest, proper investment decision-making and concerted State action on general port activity for the benefit of the economy as a whole.

Innovation and Port digitalisation’

Port digitalization refers to the adoption, collection, storage, analysis, and use of digital information in ports and port communities. It is manifested through digital platforms and it has impacts on operational management causing changes in organizational work cultures and practices in ports. Port Community Systems are the central of Port digitalization where the land and port side operations are harmonised. Governance will play a key role around data sharing. Data which is referred to ‘the new oil’ is an important element because if you do not know who will use the data and how it will be mined, there is a risk of monopiles emerging on both public and private side.


The increasing vulnerabilities related to the security of Ports is a cause of concern globally. The need for increased cyber security in ports is evident by the proliferation of cybersecurity incidents that have occurred in ports over the past few years. Having a clearly defined governance, objectives and strategic guidelines around cyber security at port level is the need of the hour.

The greening of Port management

The greening of port management is attracting growing attention in business practice as the growing green reflex is mirrored in the many green initiatives of individual ports and the coordinated actions of the wider port community. Port authorities show increasing concerns about the impacts of noise pollution, waste disposal, water pollution and air emissions on the sustainable functioning of the port since they represent the externalities that have the most identifiable impacts on the health of people working or living around ports. Limiting pollution is not only an environmental goal for port authorities. It has also become a clear mission in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and stakeholder relations management in port areas. Without proper environmental governance, tools and policies in ports, there is an increased risk of having a clear imbalance between the benefits and costs of ports for the local community. Such imbalances potentially form a breeding ground for major socio-economic confrontations related to port development and operations.

Key to success?

These elements over the years were considered to be the key to successfully manage a port. However, the attributes might change from one port to the port i.e., primary importance to specific elements and grounding the rest. Overall, the key to ensure successful port management lies in following these principles. In addition to this, 360 degree technology adoption is now becoming a mandatory factor for several ports as they are now realizing the benefits of choosing to go digital. Hence, digitization will be a key measure in the coming years for port authorities.