Introduction [to: Ports and Networks]
Much of the world’s welfare today has been produced, or is facilitated, by sea ports and their related activities. Ports are the locations where trade, logistics and production converge. Ports and their network connections have experienced unprecedented growth over the last decades: many ports in the world have benefited from the increase in international trade.
This growth can be primarily explained by the flourishing economies of the Asian countries and to the related process of globalisation; with the integration of the world market, economic growth and higher levels of income, transport has become a major economic activity. In this context, an efficient transport system is a crucial precondition for port development and an asset in local, regional and international mobility. [...]