The traditional role of the port is in transition. Today, and particularly in the future, the ports will do much more than merely move cargo from A to B. This is one of the principles on which a report recently published by Aalborg University, and authored by the Centre for Mobility & Urban Studies, is based.

More specifically, the report investigates Port of Aalborg’s future role as a North Jutland container hub, focusing particularly on rail freight. The study presents the views of four different operators at the port of Aalborg: The Municipality of Aalborg, Region Northern Jutland, DHL Global Forwarding and Deutsche Bahn. Associate Professor Claus Lassen has the following to say about the approach of the research.

- It was important to us to gain a broad perspective on the role and future of the port by involving operators with different relations to Port of Aalborg. The objective was not merely to study conveyance of cargo. We wanted to investigate the correlation between different types of transport and trends in society, he says. He explains some of the report’s results:

- The region and the municipality both have a strategic vision for Port of Aalborg, and they consider the port important for commercial development, job creation, attracting new businesses, etc. The study also shows that Deutsche Bahn regards the port of Aalborg as a link between Europe and the Nordic region, whereas DHL Global Forwarding sees the port as important for keeping North Jutland’s shippers happy.

The study includes statistics and document analysis as well as interviews with relevant representatives of the four selected operators.

Ports need to adapt as airports have done
Claus Lassen has devoted a good deal of his other research to aviation, and to the role of airports, in particular. He sees many parallels between the two important infrastructures.

- Our study indicates a need to rethink the role of the port if ports are to continue to drive growth in the future. This can be compared with the recent evolution of airports. Today, airports are much more than merely transport hubs. They are also shopping centres and meeting places. Transport is still the heart of the business, but a bigger package is needed if they’re to continue to grow in the future, says Claus Lassen.

The report’s conclusions arouse considerable interest at Port of Aalborg. Director of Development Jesper Raakjær notes that they are already in the process of transforming from a traditional infrastructure port into a modern inland port and industrial park, run and based on knowledge and close partnerships with Aalborg University, among others.

- The report’s perspectives confirm that we’re on the right track with our strategic evolution into an ultra-modern logistics centre and inland port that are able to serve clients both onshore and in the water. The report also gives an interesting insight into how important stakeholders actually perceive us, our services and our role. For instance, what do we do well? And what could we perhaps do better in the future? says Jesper Raakjær.

For further details, please contact:

  • Jesper Raakjær, Director of Development at Port of Aalborg and Professor of Port Development at Aalborg University, ext. no. +45 2920 7202 and  
  • Claus Lassen, Associate Professor at Aalborg University, tel. +45 9940 7207 and  
  • Press Service: Maja Thordahl Schou, Communication Consultant, Aalborg Havn A/S, tel. +45 9930 1500, ext. no. +45 9930 1528, mobile +45 2261 8308 and