Emerging Trends Defining the Future Role of Ports: Application of the Delphi Method

Trends in logistics and more broadly across technology and energy are resulting in changes to the traditional business models and functions of ports. Because the port ecosystem is going to be considerably different in the following two decades, decision-makers need to have a “port vision” for the year 2040 to prioritize investments and build a strategic plan. This paper seeks to analyze the current trends that have an impact on ports and the subsequent changes in their roles. The impacts are identified by means of Delphi methodology, which is applied to the Port Community of Barcelona. The results of this paper will contribute to the vision of ports of the future by identifying the main trends that will have an impact on ports in the long term (2040). The research has been able to identify the key drivers that will transform ports: green measures to decarbonize maritime transport and supply chains; 3D printing hubs for production or customization on site and available on demand in or next to port areas; new physical and digital infrastructures for automated and connected vehicles and port terminals; and finally, full digitalization to offer new services (track and trace, call optimization, etc.) as well as an optimized supply chain oriented to e-commerce’s exigent and flexible final clients.


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  • Accession Number: 01763792
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-02824
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 4 2021 10:57AM