In their latest World Investment Report, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) listed over 5,300 current special economic zones (SEZ) in over 140 economies. Out of these, approximately 1,000 have been developed over the last five years. Another 500 new zones are on the drawing board but have yet to be built. Between 90 and 100 million people work globally in SEZs, which are mostly located in the immediate vicinity of seaports, airports or border corridors. In view of such rapid growth, it is obvious that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly visible in the recession of business activities in SEZs.
In the light of urgent change towards sustainable solutions in the maritime sector, port authorities are re-thinking the way of running their business in favour of more environmentally friendly processes. Together with shipping companies they are joining a global effort to meet the adopted IMO strategy to reduce marine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% until 2030.
Although logistics experts and politicians are promoting innovative and sustainable means of transportation, globally, trucks are still the backbone of transport logistics. In Europe, about 75% of all cargo transports are still performed by trucks (www.statista.com, 2020). As a consequence, roads and highways are filled with truck queues. In particular, around ports, trucks with container loads are a dominant picture, often leading to reduced traffic flow and congestion. In fact, almost every port experience traffic problems.
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