Port Construction Projects Enhance Global Trading

Posted : 10/18/12 2:40 PM

Increases in global trade have prompted both new port development projects as well as expansion of existing harbors. While these trends are occurring worldwide, several specific areas have recently announced major new developments. These include new construction efforts in the Middle East, North America, Eastern Europe, and East Asia. In the Middle East, Iraq is building new facilities for its recently reconstituted navy at the Umm Qasr Naval Base. This facility is positioned along the southern edge of that country astride an estuary that empties into the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assisting in the project. The facilities are designed to offer berths for warships that will provide protection for the nation’s vital oil exports. Securing the myriad components of the oil industry is considered critical for the country’s recovery from recent wars. In North America, expansion of the Port of Anchorage, Alaska faces special challenges due to the region’s high tides and seismic activity. Extensive numbers of berms are required to channel the currents that can otherwise surge along any pier that might be created. Altogether 135 acres of land are being developed to handle the expansion meant to serve tanker and cargo vessels. In Los Angeles, port expansion must take into consideration the region’s strict controls on air pollution. Ships are required to hook into land based electrical systems rather than leave their engines running while docked to keep on-board power systems in operation. Poland is planning a large upgrade to the port of Stettin. Dutch and German firms are joining in the effort to create a terminal for ships carrying liquefied natural gas. The project will be linked to the pipeline network serving the rest of Europe. When completed, it will help reduce the continent’s reliance on natural gas imports from Russia. In Asia, Vietnam has work underway to create docking facilities in the Mekong River Delta. This will allow the country to take advantage of its river transport system to export goods around the world. Ocean going ships will be able to pick up loads of cargo transported to the spot by inland barges. Cranes are being erected so that containers filled with merchandise assembled in an adjoining warehouse district can be easily transferred onto the ship. The project is seen as essential in lifting the country out of poverty. India and China are also betting their economic futures on growing exports. This will require further expansion in ports along the coast.