Maritime Economics & Logistics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 79–96 | Cite as

Strategic levers of port authorities for industrial ecosystem development

  • Rick M A Hollen
  • Frans A J van den Bosch
  • Henk W Volberda
Original Article


Major ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp, Houston and Singapore’s Jurong Port host large industrial complexes of (petro)chemical and other energy-intensive process industry firms. Port authorities face the challenge to contribute to both greater international competitiveness and better environmental performance of these complexes. The development of industrial ecosystems, in which firms located in port areas use one another’s residual energy and chemical effluents as input for their own production process, appears to be a promising strategic response to this challenge. In this article, we contribute to port research by examining how port authorities can foster this development within their port-industrial complex. We present a case study of the Port of Rotterdam to empirically capture how the Port of Rotterdam Authority has done so in the last decade by strategically making use of two generic types of policy instruments: (i) investments in physical and knowledge infrastructure and (ii) land allocation. On the basis of the case study and previous literature, we derive a set of strategic levers of port authorities to foster industrial ecosystem development. We discuss implications and challenges for port authorities.


port-industrial complexes port authority strategic levers competitiveness environmental performance industrial ecosystems 



The article has benefited from the reviewers’ comments and the guidance of the guest editors. We acknowledge the cooperation with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and in particular with its Corporate Strategy Department. This research has been conducted in the context of the PhD research of the first author, which has been funded by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and which is part of the SmartPort knowledge collaboration between the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the City of Rotterdam and Deltalinqs.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rick M A Hollen
    • 1
  • Frans A J van den Bosch
    • 1
  • Henk W Volberda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Strategic Management and EntrepreneurshipRotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University RotterdamDR RotterdamThe Netherlands

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