A country's or region's access to efficient maritime port and terminal facilities represents a key element in that nation's access to global markets for foreign trade. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), maritime transportation accounted for approximately 80% of the volume of global foreign trade by volume in 2018 (approximately 70% by value). As global maritime trade has grown exponentially over the past decades, there as been a trend toward larger vessels, such as Panamax and Post-Panamax container ships and supertankers. Larger ships and higher trade volumes have required global port operators to undertake many capital-intensive projects such as deep-water dredging, investment in larger and higher throughput cranes as well as expansion in land-side facilities. In some cases where a country or region is served by multiple ports, this has led to competition amongst ports who can more efficiently handle larger vessels and volumes.
Modern ports have often been developed or have evolved to serve multiple purposes, including container terminals, dry-bulk commodity terminals and in some cases tanker terminals (including crude oil, liquified and compressed natural gas (LNG/CNG), refined petroleum products and chemicals). These ports often serve also as regional multi-modal distribution and logistical hubs, transshipment centers, warehousing and storage areas. Given that many of the world's busiest ports are located in or near heavily-populated urban areas, efficient rail, truck and pipeline access to the port facilities can often be a serious issue. Furthermore, ports that serve large hinterland markets need to have access to sufficient roadway, freight rail, inland waterway (barge) and pipeline infrastructure and services in order to effectively fulfill the port-to-markets leg of international trade. Without proper planning and infrastructure investments in road, rail, inland waterway and pipeline networks serving the port, significant congestion bottlenecks in port cities can impede international trade, degrade the competitive "level of service" and increase costs and inefficiencies to shipping and logistics companies, and also stifle regional economic development due to congestion and pollution. The best model is always to coordinate port development into regional and national transportation infrastructure plans. Unfortunately, in many regions of the world, port facilities planning is not cohesive with the planning and development of other interconnected transportation modes. This leads to situations where neither the port facilities, nor the regional transportation networks function optimally.
DCS experts cover all facets of the marine port and terminal sector. We assist both public and private clients in evaluating, planning, financing, developing, constructing, operating and managing all port, harbor, marine terminal and cargo terminal facilities. We advise client pursuing both conventional public sector owned and operated ports, privately-held port facilities and ports utilizing public-private partnership models. In addition, we can also bring our global expertise and integrated advisory services ranging from railways, roadways, pipelines, real estate (warehousing & logistical), oil terminals and liquified natural gas (LNG) gasification and re-gasification terminals, as the client's case may be. We can also assist our public sector clients with integrated regional transportation infrastructure capital development planning and application of innovative rail and truck access infrastructure projects and use of intelligent transportation systems.
DCS experts can assist our public and private sector clients in evaluating, planning, financing, developing, constructing, operating and managing marine port, harbor and terminal projects and assets. We have a great deal of experience with traditional public-sector project procurement models, including design-build (or engineering procurement and construction), design-build-finance, design-build-operate-maintain, design-build-finance-operate-maintain and long-term port operations & maintenance contracting models. Our expertise in the ports sector includes the full spectrum of contractual/ownership models ranging from conventional public sector procurement to privatizations and all variations of public-private partnership models. Complementing our ports sector focus, we also have experience advising on multi-modal regional transportation planning and coordination (ports, road, rail, pipeline), real estate (warehousing and logistical properties) and related multiple-access infrastructure.
Supplementing our own extensive skill sets, DCS experts also maintain relationships with related marine ports sector external consultants and participants including: both international and local legal advisors; technical, engineering and environmental/social advisors, economic/market consultants; contractors, vendors and technology providers; strategic and financial equity sponsors; lenders (including commercial lenders, international/development financial institutions (IFIs/DFIs), Export Credit Agencies and Export-Import Banks (ECA/Ex-IMs), institutional lenders, bond funds and investment banks) and credit rating agencies (if applicable). We are always prepared and highly experienced in taking on a lead transaction advisory or project/program management role where we coordinate and manage (in many cases, procure and retain via subcontract) various technical, legal, commercial, tax and other consultants required for the project or transaction. On behalf of our clients we are also prepared and accustomed to leading and concluding negotiations with diverse stakeholders such as shipping and logistics companies and port tenants, governmental/public sector or equity sponsors/concessionaires, developers, investors, contractors and venders, lenders, rating agencies and regulators, as may be relevant for a given project.
In the marine ports sector, we don't view ports as simply a facility for the loading and unloading cargo and passengers and for the movement of vessels. Seaports are valuable global economic gateway assets, with many dimensions, including transportation, economic development, real estate development, land-use, energy and technology elements. Accordingly, we take a multi-dimensional approach to advising our marine ports sector clients. In most client cases, there will be a significant nexus between port infrastructure facilities and other relevant sectors that we specialize in, such as technology (port cargo security scanners, port vehicle entry access and tolling systems, transponder systems, port logistics management systems, IoT, blockchain, AI), transportation (interconnected multimodal networks: marine ports, roads, parking facilities, rail, airports, inland ports and pipelines); real estate (warehousing & logistical properties, development rights); energy & utilities (solar and wind renewable energy installations); oil & gas (crude oil terminals and facilities, LNG/CNG terminals and facilities); hospitality & tourism (passenger cruise terminals, tourism industries); E&C (contractors) and heavy industries (heavy equipment, shipbuilding industries and commodities suppliers); logistics, cargo & freight industries and others, as relevant. We are prepared to bring our complementary expertise in these other sectors to our marine port sector clients, as their specific project may benefit. There may be many collaborative partnership opportunities between diverse companies and public and private service providers, who may also have synergistic objectives and opportunities related to port infrastructure assets and systems. We can help our clients expand the horizons of their project and analyze and understand synergistic economic and commercial impacts related to marine port infrastructure assets and services. This will also help forge potential new innovative partnerships with both private and public sector parties, where significant added-value can be realized.
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DCS focuses on providing the above services in the marine ports infrastructure segment to the following categories of clients:
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