Environmental sustainability in global logistics hubs

Sandy Hassan, David Grant, Sarah Shaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Global Logistics Hubs (GLHs) play a critical role in facilitating global trade flows due to their strategic locations and supply chain supporting functions, and in providing regional benefits via increased foreign direct investment and enhanced employment and education. However, there is limited research on GLHs generally and their environmental sustainability in particular. This paper explored the latter to improve understanding of GLH environmental performance for academia and practice.
Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative research approach using stakeholder theory consisted of four case studies in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Liverpool and the Suez Canal Economic Zone GLHs. Thirty-three interviews were conducted across three stakeholder levels: GLH port authority/operator, users including freight forwarders and logistics companies, and community stakeholders including government agencies/trade associations. Data was coded in NVivo and thematically analysed.
Findings: Respondents considered governments and port authorities should be responsible for setting out, monitoring, and improving environmental sustainability due to their oversight, connections, power, and authority. The most common GLH environmental impacts noted were greenhouse gas emissions, water and air pollution, waste generation, biodiversity and ecosystem impacts, energy and water consumption and noise, supporting exiting literature for individual stakeholder sectors. However, interactions among them are fragmented, suggesting a more standardized evaluation approach be used.
Research limitations/implications: This study focused on a limited sample of four GLHs in Europe/North Africa and while findings are transferable, they are not necessarily generalizable. This study also focused on maritime GLHs, however GLHs are also reliant on airports, rail, and road for global cargo access. Future research should investigate other global contexts, including air and land based GLHs.
Practical implications: An integrated GLH stakeholder framework, comprising 15 environmental measures and 51 individual environmental indicators, was developed to inform further research and practitioner adoption. This framework can be by GLH owners and developers, policymakers and governments, and intergovernmental organizations to evaluate and improve GLH environmental performance.
Originality/value: This study identified primary GLH stakeholders, which has been hitherto lacking in extant research, and their respective operations, the extent of integration, governance structure models, and GLH environmental impact and indicators, to develop the framework for agglomerated and connected GLH functions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on Logistics and Transport (ICLT)
Publication statusUnpublished - 28.09.2023
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics

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