Port Centers provide the public with the possibility to discover, experience and better understand the contemporary port activities. This is possible thanks to dedicated exhibitions and different educational activities, including the organization of adapted on-site visits in the port area. Port Centers inform the wider public on industrial port activities, goods transported, international trade, port professions and on all aspects related to the integration of the port with its city. As such, Port Centers play a crucial role in bringing together the port community and the citizens and in enhancing port community relations.
In order to promote the further establishment of Port Centers and to give visibility and enhance the cooperation between the existing ones, the worldwide network of port cities – AIVP (Association Internationale Villes et Ports) created in 2011 the Port Center Network (PCN). The network meets yearly to discuss innovations, to share best practices on port, city and citizen integration and to promote the overall concept. The PCN online database highlights existing projects and initiatives from around the world spreading out the ideas being developed and inspiring new approaches.
Responding to the interest of port-cities around the world, AIVP published in 2016 an operational guide providing a step by step approach for setting up a Port Center. The guide is based on data, experiences and best practices gathered by AIVP together with the partners of the Port Center Network but also with other leading institutions in the field of social integration of ports.