Seaports and accelerating energy transition: Rotterdam and other European seaports

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Global seaports connect economic centres around the world enabling global trade and concomitant large flows of containers and cargo, among others crude oil and natural gas. Given their high accessibility in a coastal area, seaports are specifically places where large amounts of fossil fuels are landed and processed. Benefits from port development are mostly evaluated in terms of economic impact in the region or hinterland. Such studies often lead to different outcomes dependent on the type of regional economy and other infrastructures and connectivity with other transport modes. In the evaluation of seaports’ performance, the use of other values than purely regional economic impact is increasingly seen as necessary, given climate change, water pollution, rapid growth of cities and damage to quality of life. Attention for other values has a major influence in the way new ports are being constructed or renovated (retrofitted) and in the way they are operated. Many European ports have taken measures concerning energy sustainability, but few make a difference, namely through a drastic acceleration of energy transition. So-far, we have identified four conditions for such acceleration, mainly referring to port authorities: (1) a set of practical actions in application of sustainable energy, (2) providing room for pilots and experimentation (niches) in networks including the city, universities and business, thereby accelerating the creation of inventions and bringing them to market, (3) participation in global networks of experience exchange and acceleration, and (4) responsiveness to and participation in global networks creating new regulation on sustainable energy. The paper discusses these conditions and provides details on (difficulty in) building them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 14th NECTAR International Conference
Subtitle of host publicationTransport in a networked society
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event14th NECTAR International Conference: Transport in a networked society - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 31 May 20172 Jun 2017
Conference number: 14


Conference14th NECTAR International Conference


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