The intensifying debate over the need to modernise infrastructure in the US and elsewhere has focused on the scale of the challenge; but should this also be considered an opportunity for engineering and innovation?
In a recent article, The Economist highlighted how the US is grappling with the need to upgrade its aging maritime infrastructure.
According to the article, around 70 per cent of America’s imports and 75 per cent of its exports transit its ports. Furthermore, the size and number of ships calling at US ports is steadily increasing. Despite this, only seven US ports are currently capable of handling Post-Panamax container ships.
A Cavotec cable reel powers a container crane at the Port of Salalah in Oman.
And last week, the consultancy McKinsey & Company published a report entitled “Rethinking Infrastructure”. The document, which can also be seen as a call to action, described the extent of the challenge:
“Just to keep pace with projected global growth between now and 2030, the world will have to spend $57 trillion on roads, bridges, ports, power plants, water facilities, and other forms of infrastructure.”
This would, according to the consultancy, require a considerable increase in investment levels from those of recent years, and collaboration between a broad range of public and private actors.
While these challenges are considerable, Cavotec anticipates a role for engineering and innovative technologies that will improve the transport of people and goods – at ports, airports, via road and rail – and add to the quality of life that societies have grown to expect and are likely to increasingly demand. It’s a huge challenge – but one that we relish being a part of efforts to meet.
As Cavotec Chairman Stefan Widegren outlined in the Group’s annual Report 2011:
“With the support of our stakeholders and in close co-operation with customers, we could achieve great things for the benefit of us all. This will eventually lead to smarter solutions, a better economy, better use of our resources and an improvement of the world we live in.”
For some forty years, Cavotec has developed innovative technologies – such as automated mooring for ships - that ensure cleaner, more efficient operations in industrial applications all over the world. We look forward to continuing, and expanding this work in the years ahead.