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Eric Tamatey Lawer

Institution:University of Bremen
Room:SFG building, room S 2270
Phone:+49 421 218 - 61843
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Other webpage(s):Eric's artec web page
Eric T. Lawer

PhD project:

Transnational Networks for the Greening of Ports: Cases from Germany and West Africa

Ports and port cities remain a backbone to the world economy and they have seen an enormous growth in the last decades. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), about 90% of world trade is carried by sea through ports. But as world trade is increasing, existing ports are either been expanded or new ports are being created to meet the requirements of the maritime industry. At the same time, port expansion and operations impacts the environment and contribute to global climate change. Conse-quently, ports are faced with pressure from the public as well as from the national and international arena to demonstrate a higher environ¬mental performance.

Recently, several transnational alliances and collaborations have emerged to confront the expected im-pacts of port operations and infrastructural expansion on the environment and climate change in particu-lar. The green port model has become the new buzz word of sustainable port development. Examples of such transnational alliances promoting the greening of ports include the World Port Climate Initiative, the GoGreen Marine Terminal Initiative, African Port Environment Initiative, Think Climate Coalition, EcoPorts network as well as some semi-private certification and standardization networks and agencies such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The emerging constellation of transnational actors influencing the greening of port therefore requires that port environmental policy must be analyzed in a transnational perspective in order to identify and investi-gate the existing collaborations, to investigate the commitments of these networks vis-à-vis their actions as well as the key actors promoting it. In addition to this, there is the need to investigate the political ecology of the emerging port infrastructure since infrastructure constitutes an important interface be-tween society and nature and could be inherently political and hence there is the need to deconstruct the power structures behind the greening of ports. Topical debates in transnational studies and Political ecology will therefore offer a theoretical perspective for analysis using qualitative research tools (inter-views and literature review).

As a starting point, cases from the ports of Bremen-Bremerhaven in Germany as well as the Ports of Tema, Lagos and Abidjan in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria respectfully will provide empirical grounds for this investigation. This ports are selected because Germany (Ports of Bremen) are considered as pioneers of the concept of greening while Tema, Abidjan and Lagos are competing for regional hub sta-tus and hence must comply with certain environmental standards in the global chain. Also, these West African Ports are undergoing massive infrastructural expansion at the moment and requires a systematic analysis of their environmental and sustainability strategy.

The central aim of this dissertation project is to describe and analyze the emerging concept of “green ports” and the transnational actor constellation promoting it.

The main research questions are:
  • How are issues of greening and port sustainability framed?
  • What are the existing transnational networks for the greening of ports and which actors are promoting it?
  • What are the commitments made by these actors/networks and what do they actually do?
  • How do maritime environmental standards influence the greening of ports?
  • How relevant are these collaborations for west African and German Ports and how effective is the green port model in the two context?

Thesis committee:

Prof. Dr. Michael Flitner University of Bremen
Prof. Dr. Winfred Osthorst University of Applied Sciences, Bremen
Dr. Seth Gustafson University of Bremen
Dr. Johannes Herbeck University of Bremen


GLOMAR Research Theme D