Environmental sustainability in seaports : a framework for successful innovation
Faculty of Applied Economics
IAME 2013 Conference July 3-5, Marseille, France
University of Antwerp
Environmental sustainability in the port industry is of growing concern for port authorities, policy makers, port users and local communities. Innovation can provide a solution to some of the main environmental issues faced by ports, but is often met with resistance as a result of the associated large capital investments or the risks of being locked-in in unsuccessful technologies. While certain types of technological or organisation innovation can be satisfactorily analysed using closed system theories, in the case of seaports and in particular in the area of environmental sustainability, more advanced conceptual frameworks have to be considered. These frameworks need to be able to account for the multiple stakeholder nature of the port industry and of the network and vertical interactions that environmental sustainability calls for. This paper aims at elaborating a framework for the successful implementation of innovation in seaports in the area of environmental sustainability. This proposed framework, building in part on research concepts developed in the InnoSuTra EU FP7 project, makes use of a more quantified approach of linking actions to port authority green objectives and finding out how successful certain green innovation initiatives are in achieving objectives. Several case studies are used to test the framework against real innovation examples, such as onshore power supply, or alternative fuels. In the paper we will argue that only those innovations that fit dynamically port actors demands and the port institutional environment stand a chance to succeed.