What is the importance of ports for the circular economy?

Ports play a high-leverage role for the adoption and implementation of a circular economy, globally and locally. As they serve nearly all industry sectors in a direct or indirect way, their contributions to the circular economy (CE) have the potential to create enormous impact. As such, ports are at the crossroads of transitions and changing realities, as was the headline of a report by Deloitte and ESPO (2021).
This explains why ports are an integral part of CE agendas, of which the European CE Action Plan and the Strategic Agenda of Circular Flanders are a good example. CE is more than a resource management strategy. It is a new economic model that can be linked to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By investing in the circular economy, ports can increase added value, as stated in the Flemish Port Strategy (Vlaamse Havenstrategie 2030 – January 2022).
A circular economy (CE) in a port environment combines the use of innovation technology and collaboration to reach a systemic change where resources are managed with utmost efficiency, waste and end-of-life materials are maximally reduced, and significant strides towards a sustainable society are made.

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