Innovation and Stakeholder Collaboration in West Coast Gateways: An Analysis of the Seaport and Freight Movement Industries
Published: August 04, 2009 in Research Reports (25 pages)
The report explores how organizations and stakeholder dynamics contribute to the adoption of innovation in gateways through a comparative assessment of the situation in two of North America’s major West Coast Gateways – the Port of Vancouver, British Columbia, and the twin ports of Los Angeles/ Long Beach (LA/LB), California. The research approach consists of the identification and assessment of exemplary innovations drawn from the areas of policy, technology, and operations with an emphasis on those directly related to environmental considerations.
Innovation is one means by which actors seek to create and capture value. In a context where the product is a transportation service that is organized in the form of increasingly integrated logistics chains, innovation includes new technologies and processes for handling and moving cargo, but it also includes mechanisms for planning and policy making; as well as financing, implementing, upgrading, managing and operating infrastructure systems. And it also includes the seemingly every-day task of coordinating extremely complex flows of goods. A relatively new arena for competition on the basis of innovation within the seaport and freight sectors concerns environmental innovation.
The case studies of innovation each illustrate the diverse sources of demand for and supply of innovation. The analytical framework recognizes that while there may be intense demand for and supply of innovation in gateways, the complexities and fragmentation of the logistics chain is such that successful innovation requires conscious attention to mediation. Examples of the mediating forces at work in the development, adoption and diffusion of innovation have been highlighted for both gateways examined in our research.
In the midst of a global recession, the approach to innovation must change. Rather than capital intensive technology options, the emphasis is now on learning how to be more efficient, to become better managers of existing operations rather than searching for technological solutions. There is a need to focus on smaller, but not necessarily less effective interventions, such as training and education investments.