Why effective planning and development matter
The 2002 UN Study, 'Commercial Develop-ment of Regional Ports as Logistics Centres', suggests that one reason behind the failure of some ports in meeting economic development targets has been the absence of an integrated, system-oriented approach to planning. It indicates that where the various components, e.g., the port, the associated logistics centres and the related city functions, etc., are approached as isolated components, the inevitable result is wasteful investment that does not "meet the demands of shippers, port users and citizens".
For instance, it notes that the land space adjacent to or behind ports, should not be made available for "random development or without regard to port-related functions". An obvious determination - yet one that the study suggests, has not always been considered, leading "to difficulties in building logistics centres at most city ports in the ESCAP region".
Particularly where ports are in close proximity to urban centres, but as a general principle in virtually all cases, the study goes on to stress the need for comprehensive development planning designed "to integrate the objectives of city development into logistics development policies especially with regard to improving the harmony between city functions and port functions - including logistics centres". It notes the potential risks of pollution, traffic congestion, etc., that make it critical to strengthen city-functions at the same time as logistics developments take place.
Finally, the study emphasises partnerships between, and close consultation among related interests so as "to prepare for future requirements, to avoid possible conflicts .... and to promote integrated and rapid development". Nowhere is this more evident than in the interconnection between land transport and the logistics centre, as "it is essential for ports and logistics centres to have easy access to inland transport and close inter-connection between them to perform their functions properly, providing or improving rail and local road access into logistics centres should be one of the highest items on the agenda...". This demands close consultation and coordination; in other words - Partnerships!
Next: Are incentives necessary?