Infrastructure modernisation: challenge or opportunity?

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

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.


Airport investment set for lift in the US and China

Cavotec Pit Systems

Across the US, renovation and expansion projects are underway to improve the country’s vast network of commercial airports. Developments include the remodelling of entire terminals. Meanwhile, in China, the number of airports in the country could reach 240 by 2020.

Larger airplanes, an increase in foreign carriers flying into the US and domestic airline mergers are all demanding greater investment in renovation, repair, and construction at airports across the United States.

According to a report by Jad Mouawad published in the New York Times, airports in the United States are consistently criticised by international passengers for departure delays, congestion and amenities.

Expected to be “the largest public work projects going on around the country,” said Patrick Foye, Executive Director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

A growing need for additional airports has also been highlighted in China, where Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) chief Li Jiaxiang revealed in Beijing on June 11, 2012 that the number of airports in China is expected to reach more than 240 by the year of 2020.

In a report by People’s Daily Online, CAAC chief Mr. Li Jiaxiang pointed out that the civil aviation industry in China will maintain strong growth momentum over the next one or two decades with the continuous development and growth of the Chinese economy.

“In particular, major busy airports are running at their full capacities, and this is the problem we are trying to tackle with right now,” Mr. Li Jiaxiang said.

According to Mr. Li Jiaxiang, China plans to build 70 new airports and to renovate or expand 100 existing airports in the coming years. By the end of 2015, the number of airports for civil aviation use is expected to exceed 230, with passengers set to reach 450 million. By then, there will be 2,700 transport airplanes and 2,000 general aircraft.

Mr. Li Jiaxiang also expressed that by the year of 2020, the number of airports in China will exceed 240, seeking to meet and satisfy the market needs for 700 million air passenger trips.

Cavotec Ground support equipment

Cavotec is a leading system designer and integrator for the global airports sector. Our advanced ground support equipment is designed to minimise tarmac congestion, improve operational efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Full overview of our technologies for airports: Aircraft ground support equipment.