Circular economy impact not clear cut

circular economy Ports in Europe do not automatically also attract circular activities. Photo: craig538 from Pixabay
Industry Database

A new study shows that ports in Europe attract circular economy (CE) activities but this is not the case for every port.

Published in the Sustainability journal, the study looked at circular economy (CE) activities in European Core and Comprehensive ports and found that while ports in Europe do attract CE activities, there are huge differences between the ports, and large ports with linear activities do not automatically also attract circular activities. Furthermore, there are important regional disparities in Europe regarding the speed of the CE transition in ports.

There is a gradual but clear transition towards a circular economy (CE) that will potentially have significant impacts on ports, both in their function as transport nodes and as locations for logistics and manufacturing activities, found the study.

The study set out to assess if and how the circularity transition affects the role and business model of port authorities as developers of port clusters.

Port of Amsterdam

Looking at the Port of Amsterdam specifically, 'The Role of Port Development Companies in Transitioning the Port Business Ecosystem; The Case of Port of Amsterdam’s Circular Activities' study found that the Port of Amsterdam is a frontrunner in the CE transition in ports, with over 20 circular activities across five segments and substantial growth in CE activity over the past couple of years.

A circular and renewable industry business ecosystem has emerged with most CE companies benefiting from a logistics infrastructure and services because other firms in the ecosystem provide logistics services, enabled by logistics infrastructure.

Almost all CE companies also benefit from input–output synergy that arises through sales to or purchases from other firms in the port business ecosystem.

Finally, less than 20% of Amsterdam’s CE companies also benefit from industrial ecology synergies, in which the exchange of (by) products is enabled by dedicated infrastructure.

PoA, the government-owned landlord port development company, gives developing CE activities a central place in its strategy. PoA reports land use for CE activities and has allocated a part of the port area for CE activities.

PoA takes an active role in advancing the circular business ecosystem by developing industrial ecology synergies through investments in infrastructure to better connect the companies in the ecosystem, and nurturing and attracting new companies through an incubator facility as well as capital provision.

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