Modern maritime operations encompass a complex array of competing forces and influences. Each facility serves a unique combination of demands, in a unique physical setting, under unique commercial and institutional constraints. Achieving a balance among performance, productivity and cost effectiveness requires a thorough, simultaneous examination of all issues.

Maritime terminal developers around the world face a variety of challenges that require expert planning and feasibility services. WSP’s global team can help port authorities and terminal operators evaluate, plan and develop efficient and modern terminals. We provide real-world expertise from a “big picture”, or detailed perspective, on state-of-the-art automated facilities or conventional terminals. Staying true to our focus on sustainability, we pay special attention to the marine environment in which the equipment will operate, while complying with prevailing requirements.

After analyzing and planning the operations and required infrastructure, we evaluate every element of a port or terminal for future needs in order to guarantee its function, and to ensure flexibility and quality in operation. We are developing land use planning tools for the Port of Long Beach and have been involved in the buy or sell side for most major terminal acquisitions in North America. WSP also evaluated the feasibility of a rail-served inland intermodal terminal to serve Port Botany in Moorebank, in Sydney.

Port, Rail, Intermodal Modeling Engine

WSP's in-house, proprietary suite of port and intermodal terminal planning tools, referred to as Port, Rail, Intermodal Modeling Engine (PRIME), allows us to configure terminal plans, estimate their capacities and forecast capital and operating costs more efficiently than our competitors.

These unique tools integrate with a port's geographic information systems (GIS) and complement our visualization skills and experience in developing asset management plans and their implementation. PRIME integrates physical planning, operational analysis, economic assessment and environmental impact estimation into a single platform, allowing coherent analysis of all key drivers and variables.

Once plans are developed, all of their physical characteristics are entered directly into PRIME’s analytical models. These models assess practical capacity, equipment requirements, flow parameters, resource utilization, fuel and power demand, labor demand and key environmental impacts. Using PRIME, we can rapidly develop build-out plans targeted at a specific market demand, as well as the intermediate development phases required to complete the facility.

Container Terminal Automation

In today’s economic climate, there is a drive to increase efficiencies in order to handle larger vessels and increase container volumes, while in parallel needing to reduce the environmental impact of a terminal’s operation. Automation is increasingly the best solution. WSP has specific in-house expertise in developing and delivering automation within container terminals from initial feasibility and master planning through to detailed design. We are fully conversant with the latest developments in quayside and gantry crane technology, including semi and fully automated systems, remote control and tandem operations, and we are experienced in integrating these technologies on a ‘site-wide’ basis.

Our team works to ensure that port facilities are capable of handling container volume in the most cost-effective and efficient manner, providing a tailored automated solution that meets the client's requirements and the future needs of the terminal.


Port of Long Beach, California

Port Navigation and Berth Deepening

We provide a comprehensive range of potential solutions for navigational and remediation-related dredging and berth deepening, as well as dredged material disposal options. The ever-changing international maritime sector is seeing increasingly larger vessels with greater capacity and deeper drafts. Ports are designing or redesigning the alignment of their navigable channels to serve these larger ships and potentially deepen existing berths.

At WSP, we assess navigation needs based on environmental conditions, vessel type and anticipated traffic flows. Through a detailed analysis of environmental conditions and the type of ships that will use a planned channel, we can assess various route options and rank them in terms of navigation safety and security, with a view to minimizing dredging volumes, costs and environmental impacts.

Our team has helped a number of ports assess the potential utilization of their existing berths by ships that are larger than those considered for the original design. We have a complete range of services that allow us to quantify the impact and determine the feasibility of introducing modern larger vessels.

Port Security Assessments and Facility Design

Port security is paramount to achieving a country’s national security goals. One of the most prominent issues of national security is securing the supply chains upon which countries, economies and people depend on goods movement. We provide our clients with comprehensive port facility security assessments, including threat and risk assessments and the design of mitigation strategies. We offer program management, infrastructure planning, design and construction management services coordinated with security assessments to secure cargo shipping from overseas points of origin to local destinations.