The storage and distribution of hydrocarbons constitutes for many ports an important part of their activity. However, the use of fossil carbon will diminish during the next decades. This happens because of economic reasons (the supply is running out), ecological reasons (to diminish the impact of the greenhouse gasses), and technological reasons (new and more sustainable processing techniques have emerged). The shift from a fossil fuel based economy towards a bio-based economy has received a lot of attention since about 2010. From an academic perspective, the role of seaports and its chemical complexes in the bio-based economy is in an emerging stage and not clearly defined. This paper defines the relatively new role of ports in the bio-based economy and comes up with a set of indicators to measure the size and development of the bio-based economy on ports. The approach is founded on a literature review and interviews with key informed persons. Although the paper is conceptual in nature, it finds its application in the Flemish Dutch Delta - a port delta with one of the largest chemical clusters worldwide. The formation of clusters and their relation to the ports is analysed. It also describes different possible scenarios from a logistics viewpoint after the take-off of the BBE economy, which today is still in its infancy, and their effects on seaports.

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International Journal of Transport Economics
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Hintjens, J., Vanelslander, T., van der Horst, M., & Kuipers, B. (2015). Towards a bio-based economy in ports: the case of the Flemish-Dutch delta. International Journal of Transport Economics, 42(2), 229–247. doi:10.1400/234303