Contested industries have fallen under the increased scrutiny of the public eye when it comes to their environmental performance. In particular, the transport industry is still considered as a large polluter. Therefore, stakeholders put pressure on the industry to work on their environmental footprint. Shippers assess whether their supply chain as a whole can be increasingly ‘greened’, given increasing environmental awareness from both customers (in B2B settings) and consumers (in B2C settings). Ports, as important nodes in transport networks, seek to respond to these pressures. However, their variety of geographical location, economic situation, governance structures and administrative heritage would suggest different preferences towards environmental initiatives.
PortEconomics member Michael Dooms, along with Magali Geerts and Michael Langenus (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) discusses the results of a multiple case study analysis, based on desk research and in-depth interviews with seven port authorities within the Hamburg – Le Havre range in a port study published in the 44(4) issue of the International Journal of Transport Economics.
The main goal of the authors was to investigate how port authorities respond towards the challenge of greening the shipping industry, in particular on the motives and rationale behind the set-up of pricing schemes, and what kind of institutional arrangements are installed. From an institutional theory perspective, a high degree of isomorphism is observed in the Hamburg-Le Havre range as these ports are focusing mainly on Environmental Shipping Index (ESI) based bonus schemes for environmental differentiated port infrastructure pricing. Managerial and policy implications/recommendations, based on the empirical results of the cross-case study, are formulated in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the use of environmental differentiated charging schemes.