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Port Strategy for Sustainable Development

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020) | Viewed by 47585

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Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Social Sciences and Solvay Business School, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), 1050 Brussels, Belgium
2. Faculty of Business Economics, Universiteit Antwerpen (UA), 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Interests: port strategy; cluster competitiveness; corporate and cluster shared value, sustainability and the circular economy; project evaluation; infrastructure and transport

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, most large port hubs include the circular economy transformation challenge, together with smart digitalization and Internet of Things (IoT), in their strategic priorities. Some port authorities even express the ambition for their port to become a maritime circular hotspot. However, many ports do not seem to have progressed beyond incremental, small-scale sustainable innovations, or the support of rather fragmented sustainability initiatives.More research can help ports to understand what takes them to the next level in terms of sustainable strategy, preparing for or implementing sustainable and circular business. However, what really takes ports to the next level in terms of preparing for and implementing circular business has hardly been addressed in research so far. Challenges are complex, since ports do not only have to reconsider their own core activities but also their role in the supply chain of shippers, to lift themselves out of the linear lock-in. Opportunities are also created, as Fusco Girard (2013) argued: “Economic circuits are shortened and the local economy is strengthened through integration” (Fusco Girard, L., 2013, Toward a smart sustainable development of port cities/areas: The role of the “Historic Urban Landscape” approach. Sustainability, 5(10), 4329-4348.). This author put forward that a port’s circularization process consists of an industrial, urban, and city-territorial or regional symbiosis (Fusco Girard, 2013). However, non-business (government, cluster organizations, etc.) initiatives or support are often behind circular pilot projects, and as much as it can serve as an engine for innovation towards sustainable port development, port authorities and businesses finally need to embrace circular learning and turn these projects into sustainable business models, i.e., with the design of the value creation, delivery, and capture mechanisms employed (Teece, 2010). This strategic change or refocus requires new insights into innovative governance and business frameworks, the link between strategy and commercially viable business models, systems innovation, intensified stakeholder collaboration and co-creation, altered traffic segments and hinterland focus, etc.

Therefore, for this Special Issue in Sustainability, I am calling for papers on research into new sustainable strategies and sustainable or circular (business) models for ports. Theoretical as well as empirical, and quantitative as well as qualitative contributions are welcomed. Ultimately, proposed papers for this Special Issue may cover a broad range of strategies and policies, as long as the focus is on supporting ports towards their sustainable and/or circular transition.

Prof. Dr. Elvira Haezendonck
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Port strategy
  • Circular economy
  • Sustainability
  • Port policy
  • Strategic change
  • Circular (business) models

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 152 KiB  
Editorial
Port Strategy for Sustainable Development: Circularization and Value Creation—Introduction to a Special Issue
by Elvira Haezendonck
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9914; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239914 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1524
Abstract
Today, most large port hubs embrace the circular economy (CE) transformation challenge, and include this together with smart digitalization and the Internet of Things (IoT) in their strategic priorities [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

15 pages, 1366 KiB  
Article
Patterns of Circular Transition: What Is the Circular Economy Maturity of Belgian Ports?
by Elvira Haezendonck and Karel Van den Berghe
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9269; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219269 - 08 Nov 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 4553
Abstract
Large seaport hubs in Northwestern Europe are aiming to develop as circular hotspots and are striving to become first movers in the circular economy (CE) transition. In order to facilitate their transition, it is therefore relevant to unravel potential patterns of the circular [...] Read more.
Large seaport hubs in Northwestern Europe are aiming to develop as circular hotspots and are striving to become first movers in the circular economy (CE) transition. In order to facilitate their transition, it is therefore relevant to unravel potential patterns of the circular transition that ports are currently undertaking. In this paper, we explore the CE patterns of five Belgian seaports. Based on recent (strategy) documents from port authorities and on in-depth interviews with local port executives, the circular initiatives of these ports are mapped, based on their spatial characteristics and transition focus. The set of initiatives per port indicates its maturity level in terms of transition towards a circular approach. For most studied seaports, an energy recovery focus based on industrial symbiosis initiatives seems to dominate the first stages in the transition process. Most initiatives are not (yet) financially sustainable, and there is a lack of information on potential new business models that ports can adopt in view of a sustainable transition. The analysis of CE patterns in this paper contributes to how ports lift themselves out of the linear lock-in, as it demonstrates that ports may walk a different path and at a diverging speed in their CE transition, but also that the Belgian ports so far have focused too little on their cargo orchestrating role in that change process. Moreover, it offers a first insight into how integrated and sustainable the ports’ CE initiatives currently are. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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17 pages, 2175 KiB  
Article
Value Creation through Corporate Sustainability in the Port Sector: A Structured Literature Analysis
by Michael Stein and Michele Acciaro
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5504; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145504 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3422
Abstract
Corporate Sustainability (CS) in the port sector has emerged as an important driver behind strategy definition for port authorities globally. It has been argued that CS practices have the potential of delivering value for port users and, as such, grant port operators and [...] Read more.
Corporate Sustainability (CS) in the port sector has emerged as an important driver behind strategy definition for port authorities globally. It has been argued that CS practices have the potential of delivering value for port users and, as such, grant port operators and port managing entities competitive advantages. There is, however, limited evidence behind this claim. The difficulty with collecting such evidence is that we lack measures of port value creation, and CS metrics have rarely been developed and applied in ports. This paper provides a framework for collecting empirical evidence aimed at assessing in what way CS can benefit port competitiveness. The framework is built on a systematic literature analysis of the past years. The literature analysis exceeds previous comparable contributions by its analytical detail and provides valuable new insights on sustainability in the maritime domain. The research indicates that the accurate measurement of CS initiatives in the port sector is urgent and meaningful. When appropriately measured, the value that CS can deliver to port users becomes apparent. This is, however, often created indirectly via branding, risk mitigation, etc. The paper contributes to academic knowledge as it is the first to develop a rigorous CS measurement framework usable for ports in terms of value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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18 pages, 2365 KiB  
Article
When a Fire Starts to Burn. The Relation Between an (Inter)nationally Oriented Incinerator Capacity and the Port Cities’ Local Circular Ambitions
by Karel Van den Berghe, Felipe Bucci Ancapi and Ellen van Bueren
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4889; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124889 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3970
Abstract
This paper assesses the potential of the circular economy (CE) policy ambitions of the port cities of Ghent (Belgium) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Both Ghent and Amsterdam are municipalities that potentially lend themselves ideally to set up a more local-oriented circular (re)production and [...] Read more.
This paper assesses the potential of the circular economy (CE) policy ambitions of the port cities of Ghent (Belgium) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Both Ghent and Amsterdam are municipalities that potentially lend themselves ideally to set up a more local-oriented circular (re)production and (re)consumption system. Subsequently, both have the ambition that, in 2050, the CE will have become an achieved public value that influences all activities to be more circular in comparison with today. However, while having ambitious policies is important, we explain that a public value also requires alignment with the operational capacity used or needed to achieve this policy ambition. In this paper, we focus on the ‘negative’ CE operational capacity: landfills and incinerators. Our results show that the CE ambitions of Ghent are more realistic than Amsterdam. During the last few decades, Dutch waste management has been largely privatized. This led to a significant increase in incinerator capacity and a lowering of the incineration price. This differs from Flanders, which has a deliberate capping on the allowed incinerator capacity, keeping the price for incineration high. This increases the incentive for urban and maritime actors to climb the waste hierarchy, eventually thus making the port city (potentially) more circular as a whole. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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16 pages, 883 KiB  
Article
The Role of Port Development Companies in Transitioning the Port Business Ecosystem; The Case of Port of Amsterdam’s Circular Activities
by Peter W. de Langen, Henrik Sornn-Friese and James Hallworth
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4397; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114397 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 5496
Abstract
There is a gradual but clear transition towards a circular economy (CE) that will potentially have significant impacts on ports, both in their function as transport nodes and as locations for logistics and manufacturing activities. A rough appraisal of new investments in circular [...] Read more.
There is a gradual but clear transition towards a circular economy (CE) that will potentially have significant impacts on ports, both in their function as transport nodes and as locations for logistics and manufacturing activities. A rough appraisal of new investments in circular manufacturing activities in ports in Europe drawn from organizational reports and official webpages illustrates the (slow) development of circular activities in ports. This paper is to our knowledge the first paper which deals with the implications of CE for the business model of the port development company. We assess if and how the circularity transition affects the role and business model of port authorities as developers of port clusters. We outline a framework for analyzing the consequences of CE on the business model of the port authority. We then apply this framework to get a detailed understanding of the emerging CE ecosystem in the Port of Amsterdam, which is clearly a frontrunner in the transition, and the role of the government-owned Port of Amsterdam port development company (PoA) in developing this ecosystem. In Amsterdam, a CE ‘business ecosystem’ has emerged and continues to evolve with three types of synergies between the companies in this ecosystem: logistics infrastructure and services synergies, input–output synergies and industrial ecology synergies. We find that the spatial scale of the CE value chains in the port varies between segments and that they are generally less international than ‘linear’ value chains. The development of CE activities occupies a central place in PoA’s strategy, and PoA assumes new and active roles in advancing the circular business ecosystem, most notably through developing industrial ecology synergies and nurturing and attracting new, innovative CE companies. Finally, the circularity transition leads to changes in PoA’s business model, with an increasing focus on new services that create synergies, and a decreasing importance of the share of port dues in the total revenue mix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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15 pages, 1472 KiB  
Article
The Method to Decrease Emissions from Ships in Port Areas
by Vytautas Paulauskas, Ludmiła Filina-Dawidowicz and Donatas Paulauskas
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4374; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114374 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3915
Abstract
Nowadays great attention is being paid to the ecological aspects of maritime transport functioning, including the problem of pollution and emission of poisonous substances from ships. Such emissions have a significant impact on the environment and sustainable operation of ports, especially those located [...] Read more.
Nowadays great attention is being paid to the ecological aspects of maritime transport functioning, including the problem of pollution and emission of poisonous substances from ships. Such emissions have a significant impact on the environment and sustainable operation of ports, especially those located close to intensive waterways. A decrease in emissions from ships may be achieved by implementing different methods, among others, through the use of environmentally friendly fuels, electrical and hybrid vehicles, as well as through the improvement of port approach and inside navigational channels, optimization of the transport processes organization, etc. However, the size of the influence of ships’ crew and ports pilots’ qualification on the possibility to decrease the emissions from ships during maneuvering in port areas remains a question. This article aims to develop a method to assess the possible decrease of the emissions from ships in ports, considering human factor influence. The method has been developed and verified on the selected case study example. The influence of ships’ crew and ports pilots’ qualification on time spent on maneuvering operations by ships in port areas and consequently the volume of emissions has been investigated. The research results show that for the set conditions it is possible to reduce emissions from ships up to 12.5%. For that reason, appropriate education and training are needed to improve the qualifications of decision-makers performing ship maneuvers at ports areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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17 pages, 3367 KiB  
Article
Port-Related Emissions, Environmental Impacts and Their Implication on Green Traffic Policy in Shanghai
by Yuyan Zhou, Yan Zhang, Dong Ma, Jun Lu, Wenbin Luo, Yu Fu, Shanshan Li, Junlan Feng, Cheng Huang, Wangqi Ge and Hong Zhu
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4162; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104162 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 6877
Abstract
The port of Shanghai, as the world’s largest container port, has been experiencing rapid development in recent years, with increasing cargo throughput capacity. The combustion of diesel fuels used by internal and external port-related container trucks and in-port machineries can release various pollutants, [...] Read more.
The port of Shanghai, as the world’s largest container port, has been experiencing rapid development in recent years, with increasing cargo throughput capacity. The combustion of diesel fuels used by internal and external port-related container trucks and in-port machineries can release various pollutants, causing air pollution. The terminals are close to the residential area, and the emissions are concentrated, which is worth paying attention to. This study aims to synthetically assess the port-related emissions and their environmental impacts. We firstly constructed an emission inventory of air pollutants in the port of Shanghai and then used the WRF-CMAQ model to estimate the influence of port-related source emissions on air quality. The results show that the annual emissions of SO2, NOX, CO, VOCS, PM, PM10, PM2.5, CO2, BC and OC caused by cargo-handling equipment were 21.88 t, 1811.22 t, 1741.72 t, 222.76 t, 61.52 t, 61.42 t, 58.41 t, 141,805.40 t, 26.80 t and 10.07 t in 2015. The emissions of NOX, CO, VOCS, PM10 and PM2.5 caused by external port-related container trucks were 18,002.92 t, 5308.0 t, 1134.57 t, 711.12 t and 640.58 t. The exhaust of external port-related container trucks was much larger than that of cargo-handling equipment, so the impact on air quality was also higher than that of the machinery. The peak annual average concentrations of PM2.5 and NOX contributed by the port-related sources were 1.75 μg/m3 and 49.21 μg/m3, respectively, which accounted for 3.08% and 36.7%, respectively, of the simulated ambient concentrations by all the anthropogenic emissions in Shanghai. Our results imply that the emission control policy to reduce the combined port-related emissions, especially for the cargo-delivery transportation phase from port to city, is key for large coastal port cities such as Shanghai. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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21 pages, 3034 KiB  
Article
Seaports as Nodal Points of Circular Supply Chains: Opportunities and Challenges for Secondary Ports
by Marta Mańkowska, Izabela Kotowska and Michał Pluciński
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3926; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093926 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 5085
Abstract
This paper focuses on the development of secondary ports in the circular economy model (as a node of circular supply chains) to implement sustainable seaports in the context of the structural changes taking place in the global economy, trade, and maritime transport. The [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the development of secondary ports in the circular economy model (as a node of circular supply chains) to implement sustainable seaports in the context of the structural changes taking place in the global economy, trade, and maritime transport. The purpose of this article is to identify the opportunities, challenges, and key actions to be taken by secondary ports in circular supply chains. The research method applied was a single case study. The object of the study was the seaport of Szczecin (Poland). Our study showed that the secondary ports lacking technical conditions to serve large vessels, but with available space to develop their transshipment, storage, industrial, distribution, and logistics activities, may become major participants in circular supply chains. Taking advantage of the opportunities associated with participating secondary ports in the circular supply chain requires facing a number of challenges identified in the current literature, such as return-flow uncertainty, transport and infrastructure, the availability of suitable supply chain partners, coordination and information sharing, product traceability, and cultural issues. Our study partially confirms the significance of these challenges for secondary ports. The significance of these challenges depends on the kind of circular supply chain, i.e., whether the supply chain is a producer or a consumer chain. Our study shows that a very important challenge for both types of chains is the problem of internal resistance to change. This still-unsolved issue involves the persistent linear mindset of the port authority, which is manifested mainly as investor evaluation policy based exclusively on the declared annual transshipment volume, which fails to take actions to provide the available land plots with the infrastructure necessary for the terminals and industrial plants that participate in circular supply chains. Simultaneously, for secondary ports, we proved that it is stevedores (who are flexible and fast in adapting to new market conditions, strongly determined to search for new cargo types to replace those that have vanished, and who adapt the scope of their services) who play a key role in stimulating the development of circular supply chains. As a main managerial implication for the authorities of secondary ports, such authorities should create appropriate policies for investor assessments and the utilisation of available areas within the port premises to encourage the enterprises engaged in circular supply chains to invest in and develop their businesses within the port’s premises. It is also necessary to develop appropriate communication between port authorities and their external stakeholders. As a managerial implication for the stevedores in secondary ports, these entities should first develop their service offers to address cargo as part of the circular supply chains (with more comprehensive service offers and added-value services, such as freight forwarding services, stuffing, packing, and mixing of cargo) and develop cooperation with other stakeholders of circular supply chains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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18 pages, 5931 KiB  
Article
Driving Mechanism of Port-City Spatial Relation Evolution from an Ecological Perspective: Case Study of Xiamen Port of China
by Ling Yu, Pengfei Xu, Jia Shi, Jihong Chen and Hong Zhen
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2857; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072857 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3124
Abstract
With the economic globalization continuing to advance, coastal port cities have enjoyed increasingly prominent status and roles as the link between the sea and the land and an important window of foreign trade and exchanges. However, port cities, while embracing rapid development, have [...] Read more.
With the economic globalization continuing to advance, coastal port cities have enjoyed increasingly prominent status and roles as the link between the sea and the land and an important window of foreign trade and exchanges. However, port cities, while embracing rapid development, have also produced a significant impact on natural resources and the ecological environment. Ecological environment protection has become a must-consider factor for sustainable development of port cities. To secure coordinated and sustainable development of ports and cities, this paper utilizes the system dynamics theory and approaches the subject from driver analysis. In the traditional port-city collaboration system model, indicators of ecological perspectives such as land resources and environmental protection are introduced to build a dynamic model for the spatial evolution system of port-city coupling system based on ecological protection, and the dynamic mechanism of port-city spatial relation evolution is analyzed in depth with a case study of Dongdu Port Area of Xiamen Port. The model’s simulation results show that from an ecological perspective, the spatial distance between the port and the city is critical to their sustainable and coordinated development. Only after the port-city spatial distance increases moderately can the development efficiency of the port-city system welcomes a relatively significant increase. Managing the port-city distance well has a significant driving effect on capacity enhancement of the port and economic development of the city. This provides a theoretical reference for further studies on port-city coordinated and sustainable development and provides constructive suggestions for the government to make relevant decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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18 pages, 838 KiB  
Article
Sustainability Reporting for Inland Port Managing Bodies: A Stakeholder-Based View on Materiality
by Magali Geerts and Michaël Dooms
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1726; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051726 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3500
Abstract
Sustainability reporting has been marked by a rise in importance in recent years as it has proved to be an important management tool in the understanding of where an organization is situated along the sustainability pathway. However, industries have shown different behaviors towards [...] Read more.
Sustainability reporting has been marked by a rise in importance in recent years as it has proved to be an important management tool in the understanding of where an organization is situated along the sustainability pathway. However, industries have shown different behaviors towards embracing this practice. In this paper, we turn our attention to the port industry, using the metropolitan inland Port of Brussels (Belgium) as a case study. Given the contested nature of port activities within urban regions, metropolitan inland ports are expected to benefit from the development of a sustainability report as it allows a more transparent account of the contribution of port activities to the objectives of different stakeholder groups in the urban environment. The case study is based on a survey yielding 74 valid responses from different stakeholder groups (employees, clients, and broader society). Our results show that the expected content of a sustainability report is viewed differently by these various stakeholder groups in terms of the relative importance of the dimensions of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), as well as in terms of the specific indicators representing material issues. Furthermore, the concept of boundary setting with respect to the different dimensions of the TBL and the desired level of inclusion by stakeholders during the development of a sustainability report are differently assessed. The paper is of interest to academics as well as policy makers, as the research results complement the existing insights on sustainability reporting in general and can be used as basis to stimulate the adoption of sustainability reporting by inland ports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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19 pages, 2076 KiB  
Article
Masterplanning at the Port of Dover: The Use of Discrete-Event Simulation in Managing Road Traffic
by Geoffrey C. Preston, Phillip Horne, Maria Paola Scaparra and Jesse R. O’Hanley
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031067 - 03 Feb 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4257
Abstract
The Port of Dover is Europe’s busiest ferry port, handling £119 billion or 17% of the UK’s annual trade in goods. The Port is constrained geographically to a small area and faces multiple challenges, both short- and long-term, with managing the flow of [...] Read more.
The Port of Dover is Europe’s busiest ferry port, handling £119 billion or 17% of the UK’s annual trade in goods. The Port is constrained geographically to a small area and faces multiple challenges, both short- and long-term, with managing the flow of five million vehicles per year to/from mainland Europe. This article describes some of the work that the Port is doing to minimize the impact of port road traffic on the local community and environment using discrete-event simulation modeling. Modeling is particularly valuable in identifying where future bottlenecks are likely to form within the Port due to projected growth in freight traffic and comparing the effectiveness of different interventions to cope with growth. One of our key findings is that space which can be used flexibly is far more valuable than dedicated space. This is supported by the much greater reduction in traffic congestion that is expected to be achieved given a 10% increase in freight traffic by reallocating space at the front of the system to temporarily hold vehicles waiting to pass through border control and check-in compared to extending the amount of space for ferry embarkation at the rear of the system. The importance of flexible space has implications for port design that can be applied more broadly. Modeling is also useful in identifying critical thresholds for vehicle processing times that would cause the system to become overwhelmed. Increasing the check-in time by just three to five minutes, for example, would completely exceed the Port’s capacity and produce indefinite queueing. This finding has important implications for Brexit planning. From a wider context, the research presented here nicely illustrates how simulation can be used to instill more evidence-based thinking into port masterplanning and support “green port” and other corporate sustainability initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Port Strategy for Sustainable Development)
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