The great seaports, places of transit for the most varied of goods, have undergone continual development over recent decades, adapting themselves to growing levels of sea traffic and ever larger ships. They have seen increases in size, new terminals, the modernization of existing ones and the creation of new infrastructures.
However, the economic crisis and the fall-off in international trade should see that traffic diminish in 2009 for the first time since the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979.
In this context, questions arise concerning the future of these major ports, which are crucial for world trade, but also dependent on it. Particularly as, crisis apart, these mega-hub ports are faced increasingly with economic, social and environmental constraints.
As a way of approaching these issues, Antoine Frémont provides a detailed picture of the current situation of the ports, covering the role of the international operators, the hierarchy of major ports at the global level, the ways they are organized, their positioning and development strategies and the constraints facing them. He then goes on to map out three more or less “sustainable” scenarios for their possible development, depending on the form globalization will take.