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The Greening of Terminal Concessions in Seaports


  • Theo Notteboom

    () (Center for Eurasian Maritime and Inland Logistics (CEMIL), China Institute for FTZ Supply Chain, Shanghai Maritime University, Shanghai 201306, China
    Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
    Maritime Institute, Faculty of Law and Criminology, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
    Antwerp Maritime Academy, 2030 Antwerp, Belgium)

  • Jasmine Siu Lee Lam

    () (School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore)


Port authorities around the world are pursuing a greening of port management in view of safeguarding their license to operate, and increasing their economic and environmental competitiveness. This paper analyzes how port authorities, via the design and implementation of concession agreements, can contribute to a further greening of port management. The paper presents a typology of green instruments applicable to a terminal concession setting. The instruments are evaluated on overall feasibility and suitability in a concession context, but also on more specific criteria related to implementation issues, contribution to green strategies, and targets of port authorities and regulatory/enforcement aspects. The evaluation matrix is based on the output of a structured workshop with port managers and concession experts in a sample of European ports. We demonstrate that a variety of regulatory, investment, and pricing measures are available to port authorities to include green targets in terminal concession agreements. Not all instruments have the same likeliness of being embraced or implemented by port authorities, in part because of a low perceived contribution, high associated regulation costs, or simply because the port authority is unlikely to have jurisdiction in that specific area. Measures related to information reporting and some types of harm-based standards, design standards, and technology specifications are relatively easy to implement in a concession setting. The results also show that many of the measures with a higher expected contribution to innovation and environmental objectives are typically also the ones with higher regulation costs, which might post a higher complexity in terms of their implementation in a concession setting. We further argue that initiatives toward the greening of concession procedures can only reap full benefits if these actions are embedded in a chain approach toward the environment (ship, port, terminal, warehouse, and inland transport).

Suggested Citation

  • Theo Notteboom & Jasmine Siu Lee Lam, 2018. "The Greening of Terminal Concessions in Seaports," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(9), pages 1-17, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:9:p:3318-:d:170300

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Athanasios A Pallis & Theo E Notteboom & Peter W De Langen, 2008. "Concession Agreements and Market Entry in the Container Terminal Industry," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 10(3), pages 209-228, September.
    2. Villalba, Gara & Gemechu, Eskinder Demisse, 2011. "Estimating GHG emissions of marine ports--the case of Barcelona," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1363-1368, March.
    3. Michele Acciaro & Thierry Vanelslander & Christa Sys & Claudio Ferrari & Athena Roumboutsos & Genevieve Giuliano & Jasmine Siu Lee Lam & Seraphim Kapros, 2014. "Environmental sustainability in seaports: a framework for successful innovation," Maritime Policy & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 480-500, September.
    4. Notteboom, Theo & Verhoeven, Patrick, 2010. "The awarding of seaport terminals to private operators: European practices and policy implications," European Transport \ Trasporti Europei, ISTIEE, Institute for the Study of Transport within the European Economic Integration, issue 45, pages 83-101.
    5. Panayides, Photis M. & Parola, Francesco & Lam, Jasmine Siu Lee, 2015. "The effect of institutional factors on public–private partnership success in ports," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 110-127.
    6. Gabriela Michalek & Georg Meran & Reimund Schwarze & Özgür Yildiz, 2015. "Nudging as a new 'soft' tool in environmental policy. An analysis based on insights from cognitive and social psychology," Discussion Paper Series RECAP15 21, RECAP15, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder).
    7. Jasmine Siu Lee Lam & Theo Notteboom, 2014. "The Greening of Ports: A Comparison of Port Management Tools Used by Leading Ports in Asia and Europe," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 169-189, March.
    8. Claudio Ferrari & Manuela Basta, 2009. "Port concession fees based on the price-cap regulation: A DEA approach," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 11(1), pages 121-135, March.
    9. Beretti, Antoine & Figuières, Charles & Grolleau, Gilles, 2013. "Behavioral innovations: The missing capital in sustainable development?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 187-195.
    10. Gibbs, David & Rigot-Muller, Patrick & Mangan, John & Lalwani, Chandra, 2014. "The role of sea ports in end-to-end maritime transport chain emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 337-348.
    11. Patrick Verhoeven, 2010. "A review of port authority functions: towards a renaissance?," Maritime Policy & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 247-270, May.
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    More about this item


    ports; emissions; environmental policy; terminal; concession;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products


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