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Ports & Logistics

Through teams of economists, regulatory experts, policy analysts, and specialists in all modes of transportation, ICF delivers multidisciplinary expertise and objective guidance to clients in the growing area of maritime transportation and logistics.

Strengthened by the acquisition of GHK Holdings Limited, our track record includes multiyear engagements with some of the world's largest container ports and waterfronts.

ICF supports ports and logistics clients with expertise in:

  • Master planning - ICF has successfully managed, delivered, and implemented master plans in areas such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Our work developing a port's strategic framework includes market assessments, traffic forecasts, physical planning, sustainability assessments, and review of existing facilities, capacity, productivity, and regulatory conditions.
  • Market assessments - Through feasibility studies, forecasting, scenario planning, and benchmarking and competitiveness assessments, ICF helps clients in all facets of maritime transportation understand the costs, benefits, and potential impact of operations, development plans, and expansion strategies. Our market assessments have supported a concession bid for a new container terminal in Indonesia, refinancing of a greenfield container terminal in Mexico, and due diligence for the expansion of a bulk terminal in Uruguay.
  • Transaction advisory services - Our team brings objectivity, global expertise, and a grasp of timing in a dynamic market to deliver due diligence assessments investors can rely on. We understand the many factors that determine the intrinsic quality of a port project, such as regulatory and tariff issues, demand-supply projections, competitiveness, public-private partnerships, environmental planning, and risk related to climate change. We have helped clients assess the viability of some of the world’s largest port transactions. Recently, this has involved technical and market due diligence of a global portfolio of terminals in the largest deal by a mainland China-based operator.
  • Regulatory support - ICF uses its extensive knowledge of environmental issues and policy worldwide to assist ports and logistics clients with environmental permitting, training, and the development of green port policies. We have reviewed state aid to ports in the European Union, the impact of Singapore's competition regime on air alliance, port rents and rates at South Korea's Busan airport, and block exemption regulations for shipping lines in Singapore. We also study linkages related to sustainability, environmental compliance, operational efficiency, and port competitiveness, such as how low sulfur fuels impact a port's operations and how a port impacts emissions, air quality, and health in nearby communities.
  • Investment planning for security and disaster resilience - ICF helps ports assess threats and vulnerabilities and guides governmental organizations toward a fuller understanding of policy needs—and cost implications—related to port security. Our teams have supported the development of a risk-based investment planning process for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and conducted climate change-related flood and storm risk assessments at the port of Mobile, Alabama.
Overhead view of rows of containers on a dock