North Sea Port: a port with a future!


North Sea Port: a port with a future!

3 December 2020
The Belgian-Dutch port company North Sea Port has had a future vision drawn up for its unique DNA. This in preparation for a new strategic plan. The team led by Sweco and Rebel has now successfully completed this creative, inspiring exploratory study of the future.

Sweco provided the expertise in terms of space, energy, infrastructure, traffic and the environment and converted the input from the participation sessions into visions of the future and an overarching positive narrative. Rebel contributed knowhow in the field of port, logistics and macro-economic developments and took on the general process management.

The merger in 2018 between the Ghent Port Company and Zeeland Seaports (ports of Vlissingen and Terneuzen) to form the North Sea Port created a positive dynamic with new opportunities for the port environment. To project the vision for this specific port ecosystem on a time horizon from 2030 up to even 2050, Sweco drew up several inspiring visions of the future, using the overarching "Port with a future” narrative.

To this end, an intensive process was carried out using internal and external stakeholders and experts. For example, we organised a hackathon, a two-day workshop with support from Sweco’s visual consultants in order to come up with potential future scenarios. Furthermore, several interviews were conducted with futurists and experts on specific themes of the port system.

Thematic visions of the future
The visions of the future were divided into three themes around a specific component of the port: logistics, industry and the environment. Each theme was given an image with its own scale level, which was always linked to the larger port ecosystem and future trends.

The ‘port environment’ image was elaborated on a macroscale, depicting large-scale processes in relation to the environment of a city or outlying area.

The ‘port logistics’ image took on a mesoscale with medium-sized developments. This mainly concerns interconnectivity and the various changes within the transport systems.

Finally, the ‘port industry’ was viewed on a microscale in order to depict local industrial evolutions. During the layout of the drawings, care was always taken that the images could be understood both individually and as a whole.

A day in the life of ...
In addition to the images, we have also developed an overarching positive narrative. This consists of a series of fictional events and interactions between persons and goods. Through this ‘day in the life of…’, stakeholders are able to relate to the future port. This is done through a story in which the fictional protagonist Stan interacts with other characters in the new context of the future port ecosystem. We have written the story based on the broad input from the participation sessions in which people from different backgrounds took part. The drawings in the story always make a clear visual link to the future images of the three themes, covering every aspect of the future vision.

These images can now go on to ‘live’ in the upcoming debates in preparation of the strategic plan for North Sea Port. And this both internally and with external stakeholders.

Website North Sea Port