Sustainable Strategic Development of the Port of Lisbon
Lisbon is a multifunctional port sets in the vast Tagus estuary. It is one of the main social-economic factors of development for the metropolitan Lisbon area. The valorisation of the operational port and the rehabilitation of the riverfronts and waterfront reduce obstacles and improve the interfaces with the city. The aim is to consolidate the competitive advantage of port multifunctionality and the sustainable integration within the surroundings urban areas.
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1Set in the vast Tagus estuary, amid magnificent natural conditions, with an outstanding geographical position, the Port of Lisbon plays a fundamental role in the Portuguese economy. It is readily accessible, large, well sheltered and attractive, and offers excellent conditions for multipurpose trade. Situated in an excellent position for sea traffic, the large basin provided by the Tagus estuary presents outstanding physical conditions stemming from a natural, deep and sheltered port. The bar of the Tagus estuary provides easy access to vessels throughout the whole year, and navigability inside the estuary is first class.
2Lisbon is a multifunctional port with facilities to handle general cargo, namely containers and ro-ro cargo. It has several shipyards, important solid and liquid bulk terminals, and is also a major crossing point for passenger ferries linking the north and south banks of the river, with more than 32 million passenger crossings per year. Furthermore, there is a variety of industries located in the port area. The port also offers several facilities for leisure, namely 4 pleasure boat docks and 3 cruise terminals. Lisbon is also one of the most important European Atlantic ports in the cruise sector, with 256 calls and 305 185 passengers last year.
3Apart from all this, the Tagus estuary includes one of the most important ecological reserves in Europe, with a rich variety of plants and migratory birds. It is a particularly tough experience for a Port Authority to manage the conflicting interests of dozens of entities linked to the port and the estuary waterfront.
4The port of Lisbon is one of the main social-economic factors of development for the Metropolitan Lisbon Area and plays a privileged role in the affirmation of the capital’s international dimension.
5One of the competitive advantages of this port is its polyvalent character. The coexistence of diverse uses provides added value and equilibrium. Serving a vast and highly developed hinterland, the Port of Lisbon handles a total of around 14 million tons. The port authority wants to stimulate business activity in the port area and is focusing on increasing the economic impact in the Region instead of just increasing cargo throughput. Nowadays, ports will have to be more than mere links between the transport networks, playing, thus, an important role in the organisation of commerce and in the exchange of information.
6Consequently, we observe the emergence of a new port-city identity. A new identity shaped by a physical and non-physical network through which the cities are increasingly linked and which facilitates mobility and commercial exchanges, thus encouraging social and economic development. With the new world economy, the port metropolises, having abandoned once and for all the city-port dichotomy and have become essential nodes in the traffic networks; that is to say, places with an efficient and competitive tertiary sector. As they are areas of business, distribution and processing, the maritime centres need financial institutions and information and research services, giving a range of services that even though not directly related to the port service, can only de provided by a true metropolis. As ports are not islands they can only be competitive if integrated into networks of complementary services. The contribution of the cities towards the transformation of ports in more than the areas designated for movement of cargo will determine not only the durability of port activities with greater added value but also their presence within the new spatial setting. On the other hand, the ports contribute towards the development of cities by affording them a new social and economic dimension both through new commercial advantages able to generate wealth and through the increase of their international position.
7The European continent is experiencing a universal movement towards intensification of trade and the globalization of economies, which forces changes in geo-political and strategic positions. Maritime trade will thereby become increasingly important, and a significant increase in port-related traffic is to be anticipated, even more so in the light of restrictive measures placed on road traffic. In this context, the port of Lisbon, benefiting from its natural geographical location in the region and the dynamic business community in place will continue to be the port of preference for handling containers for the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.
8The port of Lisbon is situated on a highly valuable and environmentally sensitive estuary (fig.1) covering the Lisbon municipality waterfront (the city after which it is named) and that of ten other municipalities. In this vast jurisdictional area, almost always narrow and hardly overstepping the banks of the public maritime area, the aptitude for port activities varies considerably, and is usually greater in the municipalities near the river mouth.
9Management of the estuary brings with it two types of power and responsibility:
the management of the port as a Port Authority
the administration of the Maritime Public Domain.
10The diversity of its responsibilities, powers and types of jurisdiction (“total” or “limited”, depending on whether it covers the river bank and river or solely the latter), coupled with the existence or not of public property and the size and diversity of the estuary, are factors which make the institutional relationship of the port a complex one.
11The physical and jurisdictional characteristics of the port area have played a decisive role in the way in which redevelopment and urban restructuring of the riverfront has been carried out. The work completed, or still in progress, has not conformed to a single standard for the type of solutions or type of promoting entity. In fact, the revitalization of the shorelines representing very diverse physical conditions and contrasting uses could not be simplified into a single model. The result was a diverse and enriching set of experiences that includes the different facets of the port authority’s intervention throughout the area of its jurisdiction: the management of the port’s operational areas; the administration of the public water resources (including non-operational areas); and the rehabilitation of the water areas.
12Since the 90’s the port of Lisbon has featured requalification interventions of the riverfronts associated with port activities. APL, aware of the need to integrate habits with the natural technological evolution of maritime traffic, started freeing up areas of port activity and developing, in a reflected manner, so as not to hamper the objective of the port, urban rehabilitation projects that enriched the riverfront and the city. In addition it has been qualifying the operational areas and integrating the said areas into the urban network in the best possible manner through the co-operation of renowned architects. There is thus a strategy, not only to safeguard the port but also to safeguard its development by modernising its accessibilities and the operational capacity of the terminals, together with the requalification of riverfronts, reorganising the waterfronts that have no operational use for the port and transforming them into leisure areas open to the population.
13This strategy has been implemented through the accomplishment of a sustained development policy, based on a set of interconnected and interdependent vectors, whose guidelines will now be briefly presented.
14APL, aware of the importance of the port for the economic and social development of the region as well as the evolution of the international logistics chains, has promoted the reinforcement of the operational capacity of cargo handling in Lisbon, thus increasing the competitive advantages of its core business. This was the aim of the expansion works of the two largest container terminals in Lisbon (Alcântara (fig.2) and Sta. Apolónia), that were carried out in the second half of the 90’s.
15So as to promote a better integration of the port within the city, APL has promoted urban qualification actions, reducing obstacles and improving the interface with the city. APL’s actions strongly encourage the quality of the areas of intervention, as it is considered that the operational areas should not be segregated their surroundings. A good example of such an intervention is the new fence of the Rocha Conde d’Óbidos shipyard where, through the replacement of part of the wall by a transparent fence, we were able to reduce the barrier between the city and river thus allowing for a better integration of the Port of Lisbon.
16This is one of the various examples of qualifying and integrating the port and city, making it a true case-study. The operational terminals were not relocated to places far from the city, thus allowing for better harmonisation of uses joining leisure and operational activities.
17The port of Lisbon is an important part of both the history and the city of Portugal, so the redevelopment work always takes into consideration the need to preserve this important heritage, thus allowing for the renovation of the port’s image, whilst keeping in mind its identity. This is quite visible if one visits the various riverfront areas, such as Santo Amaro (fig.3), Santos (fig.4), Jardim do Tabaco and Santa Apolónia (fig.5), which have maintained the original outline of the buildings without touching the architectural heritage.
Fig.3 - Port warehouses at Doca de Santo Amaro reconverted for commercial activity and restaurants.
Source: Port of Lisbon.
Fig.5 - Recovery of port warehouses for the Santa Apolónia cruise ship terminal.
Source: Port of Lisbon.
18Concerning the reconversion of the waterfronts with mixed or non-port use, two concepts allow for the flexibility and multifunctional utilisation of this rare advantage, thus maximising its usefulness:
19The maintenance of all the areas featuring the judicial statute of “public property”, protecting against private appropriation, whether speculative or not; the adoption of solutions that favour “public areas”.
20The non-alienation of the river banks of the Maritime Public Property protects the strategic areas from private appropriation where use of public interest should be favoured. This concept has always played an important role in the preservation of coastline natural systems, thus preventing a more generalised occupation of the tourist coastline areas. APL has developed actions to promote the public use of riverfronts, with the aim of reinforcing the public’s identification with a port whose image is therefore less institutional and more recreational. Two good examples of such actions are the requalification of the Junqueira (fig.6) and Doca de Santo Amaro (fig.3) riverside promenades.
21In fact, landfills such as those in Junqueira, where grass has simply been planted and a riverside promenade has been built, afford Lisbon a clear view of the river. They can also be used as pedestrian areas, for contemplation and leisure sporting activities, accessible to all citizens. In addition, these spaces can be temporarily transformed, without any irreversible commitments, into areas suitable for hosting commercial events and rock concerts, or even city festivities. Similarly, some landfills and port facilities, related to seasonal activities (cruise liners) or which do not involve permanent occupation (ro-ro cargo), are managed from a multi-functional perspective. For example, cruise terminals, apart from welcoming passengers, also house temporary events of a diverse nature, many of which correspond to free-of-charge use offered by the port.
22In this way, the port also promotes its own image, leading to significant benefits for the city
3.2.3 - Preservation and valorisation of the wet area – decrease in the impact of port activities on the river
23In the management policy of the riverside areas, the river assumes a crucial role, endeavouring to obtain greater quality in the wet area and a more sustainable port use of the river. One of APL’s main concerns has been the preservation and valorisation of the wet area, not only regarding navigation safety in the Tagus estuary (through co-ordination systems and maritime traffic control such as VTS – Vessel Traffic Service (fig. 7)à but also in terms of maintaining its natural conditions, by means of preventing, controlling and fighting pollution and removing debris.
24Owing to the fact that the port authority of each of the eleven municipalities manages its waterfront and interventions in its own way, limits the areas under the jurisdiction of APL which do not have a unique management model.
25APL has agreement protocols for requalification and valorisation interventions on the riverside area with several municipalities in its jurisdiction. These documents are updated whenever it is deemed necessary to define the intervention model in each area. An example of this is the co-operation with the municipality of Oeiras in the requalification of the Santo Amaro de Oeiras beach, where a new type of riverfront management was chosen. Besides finding solutions and how to render them concrete, one also notes the sharing of costs and gains and also the management responsibility of the area.
26One must also highlight that the setting up of the European Agency for Maritime Safety and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction on the riverside area, as well as the future reconversion of the former fishing dock into a multifunctional area, reflect the new concept of requalification and port-city relationship through the installation of services able to generate social and economic value due to the relation between the development of the port activity and society.
27As regards the position of the port of Lisbon, it continues to represent a determining factor in the economic base of the region, in urban competitiveness and a privileged means in the affirmation of Lisbon’s international dimension. Considered as the top national port in terms of ships that entered it and in the handling of bulk foodstuffs and general cargo (mainly containerised), it presents good conditions to receive the big container carriers of transoceanic lines (deep-sea). It handles around 14 million tons, contributing directly, indirectly and in an induced manner by 5% and 1.9% towards the regional and national GDP, respectively, as well as towards the creation of nearly 40000 working posts within the region.
28The dynamics of the port of Lisbon will be a decisive feature in the renovation of Lisbon’s identity whilst being a port city and maritime and Atlantic metropolis. Situated in the largest estuary of Europe, the port of Lisbon presents unique competitive advantages at national level, such as the proximity to the largest consumption centre in the country, the fact that it is a natural port and that it features a strong and dynamic port community. It is unquestionable that the future of the Port of Lisbon will develop through growth, and based on the Port’s new Strategical Plan, the main areas have been well identified.
29Handling of containerised cargo: the port of Lisbon’s hinterland extends from the centre of Portugal towards the regions of Extremadura and Andaluzia in Spain. As such, it does not come as a surprise that the port of Lisbon is sought after as a privileged port platform, linking the main international logistic chains in such a way that it is predicted that container handling in Lisbon will register a significant growth until 2025. As regards containerised cargo, Lisbon is one of the main Iberian ports. In fact, it is the fourth largest.
30Handling of Bulk Agricultural Foodstuffs (fig. 8): concerning the handling of bulk agricultural foodstuffs, Lisbon appears side-by-side with Tarragona, as the main port on the peninsula due to the important infrastructures, namely the Trafaria terminal. Thus, acknowledging the importance of this sector, APL intends to boost its development, based on partnerships that will allow it to improve road access to terminals, especially the connection to Trafaria via railway, in order to increase its commercial activity, thereby attracting new markets.
31Cruise ships and Tourism: the 256 visits in 2007 and approximately 305200 passengers that visited Lisbon last year, place this port at the top of the Atlantic front. This is yet another sector in which strong growth is foreseen in the short/medium term. Thus, aware of the shortcomings of the current infrastructures, it will deserve special attention from APL, namely through the construction of a new multifunctional passenger terminal in Santa Apolónia, which will become a new leisure and commercial centre.
32Recreational boating: the 4 recreational docks located in the prime areas of the city offering various leisure activities as well as over 1000 moorings and all the support services available, make the Port of Lisbon a true hub. APL’s intention is to promote the integrated development of the maritime-port activity within the Tagus estuary that has privileged conditions of use at various levels, amongst which recreational boating. Indeed, as it is a growing activity with commercial opportunities, it ought not to be set aside due to the acknowledged lack of offer at Atlantic level.
33Improvement of the logistics system: today competition exists not between ports but between the logistics chains, of which Lisbon is a member at both national and international level. The integration within these chains is the key element to conquer new markets, and will add value. As regards the ports, strong urban pressure has deemed it necessary to put in place a strong connection to logistics platforms, creating advantageous conditions for the sustained growth of port traffic and seeking new environmentally-friendly ways of transport within the city.
34Amongst other measures, such as improving railway access, APL is looking to revitalising river traffic in the Tagus estuary (fig.9) as a way of transporting containerised cargo to the logistics platforms located outside the urban area but accessible by river.
35Following these measures, APL will be able to maintain its sustained development policy by encouraging the development of traffic that can constitute a true alternative to urban road transport resulting in less environmental and social impacts.
36The port of Lisbon boasts an excellent water plan that can be used for cargo transportation, making the river alternative one that will most probably be the most feasible from a technical point of view as there are no restrictions nor great limitations in terms of the quantities that can be transported. This supports the thesis that an increase in port traffic fluxes does not need to correspond to an increase in road traffic fluxes entering and exiting the port.
37In order for the Port of Lisbon to correspond to the expectations of its clients, some projects aiming at increasing the quality of the port’s products in Lisbon are being developed. The aims are to focus on the new container terminal in Lisbon, the new cruise ship terminal and the expansion of the Alcântara container terminal
38Our work today endeavours to correspond to the demands placed by the market so that the port of Lisbon can consolidate its competitive position within the national and international panorama. This work has been developed at various levels, following the underlying guidelines for the elaboration of the port’s new … to create a set of strategies and aims that will allow the port of Lisbon to consolidate the competitive advantage of its multifunctionality and sustainable integration within the surrounding urban areas.
39The sustainable management of the Port of Lisbon, a very special port, requires strategical planning due to its diversity, the development of the port activity and the preservation of its cultural heritage. This must all be integrated into a port metropolis, keeping in mind the present and safeguarding the future.
List of illustrations
|Title||Fig.1 - Port of Lisbon. The Tagus estuary.|
|Credits||Source: Port of Lisbon.|
|Title||Fig.2 - The Alcântara Container Terminal.|
|Credits||Source: Port of Lisbon|
|Title||Fig.3 - Port warehouses at Doca de Santo Amaro reconverted for commercial activity and restaurants.|
|Credits||Source: Port of Lisbon.|
|Title||Fig.4 – Santos.|
|Credits||Source: Port of Lisbon.|
|Title||Fig.5 - Recovery of port warehouses for the Santa Apolónia cruise ship terminal.|
|Credits||Source: Port of Lisbon.|
|Title||Fig.6 - The Junqueira riverside promenade.|
|Credits||Source: Port of Lisbon.|
|Title||Fig.7 - The VTS Tower (Vessel Traffic Service).|
|Credits||Source: Port of Lisbon.|
|Title||Fig.8 - Agricultural foodstuffs (2005).|
|Title||Fig.9 - River traffic in the Tagus estuary.|
Manuel Frasquilho, « Sustainable Strategic Development of the Port of Lisbon », Méditerranée [Online], 111 | 2008, Online since 01 June 2010, connection on 25 March 2017. URL : http://mediterranee.revues.org/2806 ; DOI : 10.4000/mediterranee.2806Top of page
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