Framework for Dealing with Uncertainty in the Port Planning Process

Majid Eskafi, Ali Dastgheib, Poonam Taneja, Gudmundur F. Ulfarsson, Gunnar Stefansson, Ragnheidur I. Thorarinsdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Ports are complex engineering systems that have always been evolving to satisfy the new or changing demands of stakeholders. However, the ever-growing complexity in port sectors in a volatile environment creates a high degree of uncertainty in port planning projects. This study presents a structured framework to deal with uncertainties in the port planning process. Stakeholder analysis, different methods of addressing uncertain developments, and SWOT analysis were jointly used to develop the framework. Effective actions were planned in response to opportunities and vulnerabilities derived from uncertainties that manifest in a projected lifetime. Face-to-face interviews with key stakeholders and literature review were conducted to identify uncertainties and planning horizons. The framework was applied to the Ports of Isafjordur Network in Iceland. The results show that demand for aquaculture and cruise activities create the main uncertainties for the port network. Uncertainties mainly present opportunities in the short-term horizon, while in the middle-term horizon the port network is confronted with multiple vulnerabilities. The nonlinearity of dealing with uncertainty by application of the framework provides a robust and better plan toward its success in a dynamic world. The framework supports decision making under uncertainty by facilitating adaptive port planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05021003
Pages (from-to)05021003-1 - 05021003-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Accepted author manuscript


  • Adaptive port planning
  • Flexible port
  • Iceland
  • Uncertainty


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