Ports of the Future

The growing number of port development projects recognises the need to shift economies and social structures towards more sustainable models. The development of a new or extended port layout requires adequate attention to a number of aspects that guarantee both sustainable port growth and a healthy ecosystem functioning. There is a need for innovative solutions for port development which are in harmony with the ecosystem and which are robust or adaptable under change. Through an integrated and ecosystem-based approach, port development can be realized in an inclusive way, providing an economic, environmental and social vital port: the “Port of the Future” concept.


Port of the Future concept

The Port of the Future concept includes a different approach towards the location of a new or expanding port. The selection is based on the characteristics and processes of the ecosystem, like sedimentation and erosion and the location of biodiversity hot spots that deliver food and water purification. To support the elaboration of a tailor made ‘Port of the Future’ masterplan for a specific port and to secure involvement of stakeholders, high-end tools are developed. Deltares developed for several purposes the Port of the Future Serious Game. The aim of this game is to create support and awareness for the port development with all stakeholders. This includes the socio-economic development, natural requirements and impact of  sustainable design.

Deltares expertise covers:

  • Co-creation with interdisciplinary topics
  • Influence of port development and pressures on the coastal and estuarine ecosystem
  • Influence of the physical environment on ports
  • Awareness of sustainability in combination with green growth
  • Gaming and training with Port of the Future Serious Game

Deltares develops no-impact port for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Deltares uses the approach of ecosystem-based management that aims to restore and protect the health, function and resilience of entire ecosystems for the benefit of all organisms. In doing so, on behalf of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deltares try to gain insight into the driving factors behind realising a ‘NO-IMPACT’ port development: a port that has no negative impact on the ecosystem and recognizes ecological systems as a mix of elements that interact with each other in oceans and coast areas. The no-impact port is an approach that goes beyond examining sustainable initiatives issues or ecosystem functions in isolation. In this study we discuss the sustainable port development concept in co-creation with principles from morphology, infrastructure engineering, ecological and socio-economic perspectives. For the sustainable port development, multidisciplinary criteria have been specified, based on functions of the coastal ecosystems.