Exploratory study on Circular Port Monitor published as academic paper

Ensuring circular strategy implementation: development of CE indicators for ports

Port clusters are expected to play a significant role in the transition towards a circular economy, both at the level of facilitating regional and global transport within circular production chains, as well as hosting circular activities in port areas. There is strong evidence that significant investments in the circular economy (CE) are being made in port areas, albeit without much knowledge on their impacts. To ensure an efficient use of port resources in view of this transition, these impacts should be adequately monitored

Exploratory study

Research on circular economy indicators for ports is still in an exploratory stage, characterized by an absence of in-depth research on the development of port-related circular economy indicators.

That’s why, as a first step, Circular Flanders commissioned an exploratory study at the end of 2021 to bring more clarity, structure and direction to this relatively open question of monitoring circularity in ports. Based on scientific knowledge and tested in (international) practice, the exploration resulted in actionable insights and a first framework with a pragmatic set of indicators for Port Management Bodies (PMBs). At the same time, the next steps for the gradual advancement of circularity ambitions and performance were formulated.

Financial support for this exploratory research by VUB and Copenhagen Business School was provided by Circular Flanders, who’s role was to validate the study design, analysis and results.

New paper published in the Journal for Maritime Transport Research

Based on the earlier exploratory research, an academic paper by VUB and Copenhagen Business School was recently published in the Journal of Maritime Transport Research.

The paper focuses on the development of a comprehensive set of relevant and feasible CE indicators to support port managing bodies (PMBs) and port stakeholders in monitoring the ongoing CE transition. Through multi-method qualitative research, including content analysis, focus groups, a gap analysis and a qualitative survey, an actionable list of 12 CE indicators for ports was developed. Seven of these are highly feasible and five are moderately feasible in terms of stakeholder relevance and ease of implementation. Findings related to (1) the overall limited CE ambition of PMBs and (2) the different value of some indicators for different port typologies are also discussed. The value of this study for practitioners lies in providing them with an actionable set of KPIs that can support their efforts and communication related to their CE transition.

Cite as: Faut, L., Soyeur, F., Haezendonck, E., Dooms, M., de Langen, P., 2023. Ensuring circular strategy implementation: The development of circular economy indicators for ports.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.martra.2023.100087

Images credit: Carolien Krijnen

Find more details about the academic paper in our library

Download the report ‘Circular Port Monitor – Explorative Research: Toward First Actionable Insights’



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Circular Port MonitorIndicatorsMonitoringMonitoring systemPort performance