As trade barriers worldwide are dropping, the physical barriers to the movement of goods remain the greatest bottleneck to trade. Over 70 percent of the world’s trade by value and 90 percent by volume travels by ship. With developing country trade growing at nearly 14 percent per year, the efficiency of port activity has become an essential piece in unlocking economic potential. The speed with which cargo is securely moved from a vessel, the ease and accuracy with which it is tracked, and the turnaround times of the ships carrying that cargo, together define the economics of the maritime industry and impact the economic development of a country and region.
While ports were traditionally viewed as infrastructure and services to be provided by the public sector, past decades have seen a global shift to greater private sector involvement, both in port operations and in financing of port infrastructure. Private operators and investment have changed the standards of acceptable performance for these crucial gateways to trade.