Circular economy and sustainability in maritime studies

Year 2023 (February)
Author(s) Damoon Razmjooei (Khoramshhar Marine university), Moslem Alimohammadlou, Habib-Allah Ranaei Kordshouli, and Kazem Askarifar (Shiraz University)

A bibliometric analysis of the literature on circular economy and sustainability in maritime studies


Over the last decade, many academics, practitioners, and policy-makers have focused on the notion of circular economy (CE) as a way to operationalize sustainable development. There is, however, a shortage of review studies that reflect the evolution and status of CE with respect to sustainability in the maritime industry.

The purpose of this study is to conduct a bibliometric analysis of the development of CE in research on sustainable maritime processes/operations in the maritime industry. To accomplish this, the study uses citation analysis (publication distribution, productive journals, cross-country collaborations), co-occurrence analysis of the subject categories, co-citation analysis, and keyword frequency analysis. To collect data, the study utilizes the Web of Science database. Such software packages as CiteSpace, Histcite, and VOSviewer are used to analyze the data collected.

The results clarify that, in the maritime industry, CE is a micro-level sub-set of sustainability. Furthermore, the literature has mainly focused on waste management and life-cycle assessment as measures of CE 1.0 and CE 2.0, respectively. Assessing circularity in terms of R-imperatives highlights that “recycle,” “remanufacture,” “recover,” and “reduce” are widespread practices of circularity in the maritime industry. Shipping companies should evaluate the possibility of implementing CE by realizing shorter loop R-imperatives such as “refuse,” “reduce,” “reuse,” and “repair.” Scholars must further explore underdeveloped R-imperatives such as “refuse,” “refurbish,” “repurpose,” and “remine” in the maritime industry.

Keywords: the maritime industry, sustainability, circular economy, bibliometric analysis

Cite as: Razmjooei, D., Alimohammadlou, M., Ranaei Kordshouli, HA. et al. A bibliometric analysis of the literature on circular economy and sustainability in maritime studies. Environ Dev Sustain (2023).

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Bibliometric analysisMaritime sector