Research Topic

Sustainability in Seaports as Collaborative Entities

About this Research Topic

Seaports (hereafter ports) provide an essential service for the movement of goods and passengers around the globe. They provide many millions of jobs globally through port-based activities, shipping and related activities, and transport services, for examples. Ports are vital to the economy of many coastal areas, from the cities where they are located to the wider hinterland into which goods are transported. Ports, broadly, are operated under the aegis of a Port Authority, which may provide specific services to port users, or may act as an administrative body managing a broad range of port stakeholders.

In order to identify whether ports and their Port Authorities (PAs) are operating in the most sustainable way possible, it is necessary to develop a picture of the port as a single collaborative entity. Climate change is just one of the challenges facing many ports, through sea-level rise or the increasing frequency of severe weather events. Climate impacts may reduce the viability of ports to continue to operate in current locations, necessitating the need for them to move or expand to more suitable areas. Other challenges include changes in shipping industry requirements, emissions reduction, stakeholder requirements and the need for improved collaboration between ports with local communities/government agencies.

Facing such threats, together with the growing call for ports to operate in a sustainable way, which improves the environmental, social, technological and economic impacts that ports broadly have on their host city or region, ports/PAs are seeking solutions which can be adapted to meet their own specific needs. Achieving large-scale impacts across the whole sector may not be feasible, but providing solutions is vital to achieve more sustainable and resilient ports now and in the future.

One way of framing these solutions is to consider ports within the World Port Sustainability Program (WSPS), launched in March 2019. The WSPS aims to demonstrate global leadership of ports in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We welcome papers that provide a better understanding of how ports and PA can operate more sustainably including identifying examples of best (or better) transferrable practices in the five areas outlined by the WPSP:
• Future-proofing Infrastructure (SDGS 4-9 and 13-15);
• Climate and Energy Issues (SDGs 7-9 and 11-13)
• Safety and Security (SDGs 3, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 16);
• Governance and Ethics (SDGs 1-5 and 8)
• Societal Integration

We also welcome over-arching papers on the port/PA as an organization made up of multiple stakeholders with either matching or competing needs. Manuscripts by academic researchers, port practitioners, governance bodies and other relevant bodies, or some combination of these, would be welcome. Both theoretical and practical manuscripts would be welcome to provide a broad overview of the sector globally.


Keywords: Seaports, Port Authorities, Sustainable Ports, World Port Sustainability Program, Port Sustainability Issues


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Seaports (hereafter ports) provide an essential service for the movement of goods and passengers around the globe. They provide many millions of jobs globally through port-based activities, shipping and related activities, and transport services, for examples. Ports are vital to the economy of many coastal areas, from the cities where they are located to the wider hinterland into which goods are transported. Ports, broadly, are operated under the aegis of a Port Authority, which may provide specific services to port users, or may act as an administrative body managing a broad range of port stakeholders.

In order to identify whether ports and their Port Authorities (PAs) are operating in the most sustainable way possible, it is necessary to develop a picture of the port as a single collaborative entity. Climate change is just one of the challenges facing many ports, through sea-level rise or the increasing frequency of severe weather events. Climate impacts may reduce the viability of ports to continue to operate in current locations, necessitating the need for them to move or expand to more suitable areas. Other challenges include changes in shipping industry requirements, emissions reduction, stakeholder requirements and the need for improved collaboration between ports with local communities/government agencies.

Facing such threats, together with the growing call for ports to operate in a sustainable way, which improves the environmental, social, technological and economic impacts that ports broadly have on their host city or region, ports/PAs are seeking solutions which can be adapted to meet their own specific needs. Achieving large-scale impacts across the whole sector may not be feasible, but providing solutions is vital to achieve more sustainable and resilient ports now and in the future.

One way of framing these solutions is to consider ports within the World Port Sustainability Program (WSPS), launched in March 2019. The WSPS aims to demonstrate global leadership of ports in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We welcome papers that provide a better understanding of how ports and PA can operate more sustainably including identifying examples of best (or better) transferrable practices in the five areas outlined by the WPSP:
• Future-proofing Infrastructure (SDGS 4-9 and 13-15);
• Climate and Energy Issues (SDGs 7-9 and 11-13)
• Safety and Security (SDGs 3, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 16);
• Governance and Ethics (SDGs 1-5 and 8)
• Societal Integration

We also welcome over-arching papers on the port/PA as an organization made up of multiple stakeholders with either matching or competing needs. Manuscripts by academic researchers, port practitioners, governance bodies and other relevant bodies, or some combination of these, would be welcome. Both theoretical and practical manuscripts would be welcome to provide a broad overview of the sector globally.


Keywords: Seaports, Port Authorities, Sustainable Ports, World Port Sustainability Program, Port Sustainability Issues


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

22 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

22 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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