In a port study on port management and governance, that is published as an editorial in the scholarly journal Maritime Economics and Logistics (MEL), PortEconomics co-director Theo Notteboom and Hercules Haralambides provide a critical assessment of some of the key issues and themes in port governance research, attempting at the same time, to propose new avenues for further port research in a post-COVID-19 era.
As the authors state, “Port management governance is continuously challenged to adapt to a changing port ecosystem. It is not just hard economic factors, however, that guide port development and operations. The growing role of environmental and social considerations shape the behaviour and strategies of port-related actors, with a greater role attributed to setting and achieving sustainability goals and to rolling out initiatives in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR), stakeholder relations management and green supply chain management. Companies initiate the implementation of such initiatives due to motivational drivers, such as sales to customers and corporate reputation, regulatory pressures and the growing emancipation of individual citizens and stakeholders“.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on the economic activity in seaports, with many ports around the world being confronted with moderate to strong decreases in cargo volumes and vessel calls and an overall lower activity level in the logistics and industrial clusters in and around ports.
Theo and Hercules summarise the main developments by identifying trends and exploring research challenges, gaps, and points of (re)orientation. Instead of providing answers, they provide inputs to ongoing discussions by sketching emerging and eminent issues in the hope that this will provide some guidance for further port studies in the field.