A Serving Innovation Typology: Mapping Port-related Innovations

Thierry Vanelslander, Christa Sys*, Jasmine Siu Lee Lam, Claudio Ferrari, Athena Roumboutsos, Michele Acciaro, Rosario Macário, Genevieve Giuliano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The port sector is often perceived to be lagging behind in terms of innovative initiatives. It is unclear whether this is the result of a more limited engagement of the scientific community, or poor external marketing from port operators or whether the limited number of port-related scientific studies is not representative of the real volume of innovation in the sector. In order to offer deeper insight into the connections between the academic (port) innovation literature and actual innovation practices in the port sector, firstly, the literature is reviewed over the 2011–2018 period. Secondly, the paper proposes a typology, which supports the management of the innovation process and upon which future research could be based. Last, the analysis of 75 port-related innovation initiatives provides an application of the proposed typology. The findings from the study of innovation in the port-related sectors show that multi-dimensional innovation encompassing technological, managerial, organisational and cultural aspects is prevailing in this industry. So far only a handful of innovation cases are the result of co-operation, generally with other firms upstream or downstream in the maritime supply chain. Ultimately, it emerges, however, that collaborative innovation or co-innovation is the way forward for future maritime- and port-related innovation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTransport Reviews
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)611-629
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Innovation typology
  • Port-related innovation
  • Maritime supply chain

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