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Læs Danske Havnes nye rapport om havnenes indsats på klimaområdet

henrik s

Hvad betyder ”port transformation”? Forskningen inden for danske havnes transformationsprocesser kan udvikles meget mere. Forskere fra CBS Maritime vil derfor køre fire sessioner under Havnekonferencen, der vil dække temaerne God selskabsledelse (corporate governance), Forretningsmodeller, Havneklynger og Internationalisering. Jo skarpere forskningen bliver på havnenes udfordringer, jo mere udbytte for både forskere og havne.


Af Henrik Sornn-Friese (lektor, ph.d. og Leder af CBS Maritime) & Peter de Langen (ph.d., gæsteprofessor ved CBS Maritime, ejer af Ports & Logistics Advisory)


Managing transformation

Navigating transformations is one of the most fundamental challenges facing strategic decision-makers in business. Industry transformation can be considered as periods of immense change in industry structure or in traditional industry practices. Transformative industry change may be driven by many and diverse factors, including new technology, shifting customer requirements, and regulation. Industry transformation poses serious threats as well as great opportunities to enterprises driven by commercial criteria.


What is port transformation?

The port industry is facing a period of transformative change driven by diverse developments in ship size and technology (e.g., cascading of bigger ships, developments in autonomous ships), digitalisation (e.g., within-port operations, interfaces between ships and ports), supply chain integration (e.g., transforming ports from cargo loading/unloading facilities into industrial centres & logistics hubs), environmental restrictions (e.g., emission reduction policies), or new market opportunities deriving from the development towards a circular economy (e.g., changing cargo flows, recycling) and the growth in ocean related economic activities (e.g., new types of port users).


Especially for municipality-owned port companies, the ability to adapt to these changes is challenging and requires a fresh look at such themes as port governance, business models and capabilities, co-location and knowledge sharing among industry participants, various forms of partnerships, and ports’ international outlook and expansion. In addition, to effectively manage port transformation requires improved understanding of how such themes interrelate. The corporate governance model chosen in a port has implications for port pricing decisions, the attraction of new (types of) customers, the productive use of the port’s assets, and the exploitation of business synergies and industrial symbiosis in the wider port cluster. Hence, the chosen governance model limits the spectrum of business model opportunities available to the port.


Examples of port transformation:

  • Associated British Ports, the UK’s leading port operator, launched a transformed property arm with a more than 900 hectare land bank. This announcement is another step in the gradual transition of ABP from a port operator to a development company of port, logistics and manufacturing complexes in 21 UK ports. APB owns around 5000 hectare of land, of which around 900 hectare is available for development. ABP announced it is able to create around 2.8 million m2 of accommodation for new ‘logistics, assembly, manufacturing and other business operations offering the advantage of multimodal transport options’. The launch of the property arm and the explicit focus on manufacturing is in line with the mature market for terminal operations: ABP and its customers handled 89 million ton in 2016, compared to over 120 million ton in the early 2000s.
  • Associated Danish Ports is a municipality-owned, corporatized port company established in the Region of Southern Denmark in the wake of port reform in the early 2000s. ADP has acquired 70 hectares of land to develop its logistics facilities in the consolidated company “Taulov Dryport”, which ADP owns in joint venture with the Danish pension company PFA. This major investment has been an important step in the transition of ADP to a commercially driven development company of port, transport & logistics and offshore wind assembly complexes in three Danish ports. It has been a transformation through which the ports have expanded from maritime shipping to also include other modes of transportation, turning them into a combined logistics hub serving Northern European and Scandinavia.
  • Copenhagen-Malmö Port was established in 2001 – in merger between the ports in Malmö in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark – to become the first truly “international port”. CMP continues to focus on mainly traditional port activities, but the transformation of the two ports to one international company allowed for greater economies of scale through specialization and greater economies of scope through collaboration.
  • Port of Amsterdam has invested in an incubator, “Prodock”, where start-ups and scale-ups can really test their products and services. Prodock offers room for innovative, fast-growing businesses to test their products and services in actual practice in a large warehouse with ample exterior space. It is aimed at businesses that have outgrown the laboratory phase and wish to scale up. This is an example of a transition away from leasing land and attracting cargo flows, towards attracting innovative activities to the port business ecosystem.
  • Port of Esbjerg has gone through a number of significant transformations, changing it from a traditional fishing and cargo loading and unloading facility to, first, an industrial center for offshore oil and gas activities to, more recently, an intermodal/logistics hub for offshore wind. One implication has been that the port increasingly serves energy companies rather than the shipping companies and hence changes its value-creating activities and port development efforts to accommodate a different type of customers.
  • Port of Rotterdam aims to be a frontrunner in the transition towards a circular economy. To that end PoR focuses on attracting circular activities and also aims to invest in such ventures, including ‘Waste-2-Chemicals’, more specifically a plant where synthetic gas and subsequently methanol are produced from residual waste flows. Another example of PoR’s involvement is its role in the development of RAMLAB (Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing LAB) – a field laboratory with 3D metal printers focusing on the port related industry. For instance, RAMLAB and partners are working on printing spare parts on demand, making a large stock unnecessary.


Academic workshop


The academic workshops – with sessions on Geographical clusters, Business models, Corporate governance, and Internationalisation – aim to start a process to make a leap in port strategy research.


“Port management scholars” have not benefitted to the extent possible from theoretical advances in strategy research, while cutting-edge “strategy scholars” have not to any significant extent paid attention to the ports industry (resulting in very few papers with applications to ports in the leading academic management journals). In addition, port authorities/port development companies are only beginning to make well-grounded strategic choices.


We bring together insightful people from all three groups to discuss the major challenges and research opportunities, as those exemplified above, that will help strategic decision-making in the ports industry. We have invited four, internationally distinguished strategy researchers from CBS to identify state-of-the-art research topics within each their field of expertise and discuss how these could be advanced in the context of ports: Mark Lorenzen on geographical clusters, Bent Petersen on internationalization, Thomas Ritter on business models and Bersant Hobdari on corporate governance.


We aim for an interactive, informal and open discussion on the relevance for ports as well as potential advances in management research in ports.


The four sessions


Afternoon April 10


Session 1: “Geographical clusters” (Promoter: Professor Mark Lorenzen, CBS, Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics)


Session 2: “Internationalization” (Promoter: Professor Bent Petersen, CBS, Department of Strategic Management and Globalization)


Morning April 11


Session 3: “Business model innovation” (Promoter: Professor Thomas Ritter, CBS, Department of Strategic Management and Globalization)


Session 4: “Corporate governance” (Promoter: Associate Professor Bersant Hobdari, CBS, Department of International Economics and Management)


Each session will be kicked-off with a short presentation from the promoters, who will present 2-3 ’hot research topics’ on the respective themes. This will be followed by a round table discussion with the port management researchers and the business and port participants on how ports can be better used as objects for academic research with the express purpose of addressing the ‘hot topics’ presented.


Giv meget gerne lyd direkte til Sofie Gravers Jacobsen, /M: 6068092,  hvis I ønsker at deltage, da der er begrænset deltagerpladser – så vi opererer med et først-til -mølle princip  bemærk, at forskersessionerne vil foregå på engelsk, og der vil ikke være tolk på.

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