According to standard European Union terminology a seaport is a facility equipped with infrastructure which allows commercial ships to moor, be loaded and unloaded and passengers to go on or off board a ship. From the point of view of maritime logistics, the definition is not exhaustive enough. It is because in the logistics and economic context, in the global transport system a port constitutes a hub of highly maritime specificity where different functional and spatial activities directly or indirectly connected with logistics chains, which still include land and sea transport chains, take place.
The exceptional role of seaports in global trade and transport is most of all connected with them being de facto the initial and final points in maritime transport. They are one of the most important parts of land and sea transport chains which can be used to handle the greatest amount of cargo at one time. At the same time, the objects are the starting and the target points for road, rail and river transport when it comes to transporting goods. Seaports also constitute contemporary growth poles and fundamental economic ecosystems of cities, but often also of entire coastal regions. Conditions favouring economic activity – including industrial one – within their area lead to the need for concentrating cargo there. What is more, ports are also deemed to be, among others, universally available centres of information about cargo, means of transport and handling potential. All the above make experts claim that when it comes to global trade, ports are the most important links in the logistics chain. Big seaports, with cargo handling capacity over 1.5 million tonnes, are treated as international logistics hubs.
Poland, implementing EU transport and maritime policy, is obliged to create technical infrastructure of port logistics hubs as part of its national logistics system. The challenges Poland will have to face on the way will be discussed during the Seaports Panel and Maritime Logistics Panel and we are looking forward to meeting you there!
fot. P. Kozłowski