PortEconomics co-director Peter de Langen led an initiative to develop a cooperation platform to promote industry oriented research in the port of Rotterdam. Five founding partners, Port of Rotterdam Authority, the business community, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Delft University of Technology and the city of Rotterdam have committed significant resources to this initiative (see www.smart-port.nl).
This initiative fits in a broader challenge: ports, as strong clusters of economic activities, have- whether they are aware of this or not- an innovation ecosystem. The quality of this ecosystem determines the innovation performance of the port. For long run competitiveness, innovation is crucial.
The innovation ecosystem consists of the eight interrelated components given in the figure above. For each component, joint initiatives to improve the innovation ecosystem can yield significant results. Better innovation ecosystems can give ports a competitive edge, and ultimately create value for society, by contributing to more sustainable, efficient and safe port related supply chains.