Creating new paths: the conversion and diversification of North Sea ports

Authors: Lewis Evans*, Newcastle University, UK
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: Evolutionary Economic Geography, Adaptation, Diversification, Ports, Offshore Wind
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 1, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

My research is situated in the field of Economic Geography and the vibrant sub-field of Evolutionary Economic Geography (EEG). It seeks to contribute to debates on local and regional path creation, referring to the growth of new economic activities. Until now EEG research has focused upon ‘typical’ research objects (firms, industries and networks) and spatial contexts (regional or city-region scales). However, ports have been overlooked as key research objects and as key sites of adaptation and diversification within EEG. Ports have also been overlooked as important economic actors. More recently, there has been a renewed interest in ports and their importance in stimulating processes of path creation in certain localities. To enable these processes, ports are moving beyond ‘traditional’ port activities and into supporting offshore wind activities. Therefore, my important research questions are examining how port infrastructure is adapted to support offshore wind, how port ownership and governance settings drive port adaptation, and in what ways broader market, industry, regulatory and policy contexts shape port adaptation. The research questions are explored through a comparative analysis of the ‘Humber Ports case’ (Port of Hull and Port of Grimsby, UK) and the ‘Port of Cuxhaven case’ (Germany). Key findings and issues have emerged around the clarity of national offshore wind policy and scale of offshore wind subsidies, public ‘vs’ private port ownership, firm interest shaping ‘proactive’ and/or ‘reactive’ infrastructure investments, availability of port infrastructure and land, and port master planning activities.

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