The leadership of the port authorities creates conditions for increased investments in advancing port circularity. By assuming a leadership role, port authorities are the active community builders engaging policymakers across different policy areas and levels of governance, as well as various stakeholders, in the circular port transition.
Substantial investments condition circularity in any given port. However, ports are complex ecosystems with multiple service providers, users, and stakeholders who might not necessarily devote resources and invest alone in initiatives enhancing the circular transition. This is because the benefits of such initiatives might not be visible, individual entities might endorse different hierarchies, or simply because the impact of investments by a single actor alone might not be considerable. The level of voluntary investments is considerably lower than the optimum level (I*).
Port authorities might advance processes, incentivizing, supporting, and, thus, enabling the clustering of activities. They might also introduce new business models, and encourage broader and better CE-related investments and choices. In addition, port authorities can be facilitators, enablers, developers, and integrators that stimulate circularity transition initiatives in the port.
Besides, as cluster and community managers, port authorities have a specific role in engaging and stimulating collaboration with local governments, environmental organizations, and businesses to exchange best practices, share resources, and align goals for CE in ports. Through cluster governance of the circular port transition, the port authority might even assume leadership in aspects that conventionally were outside its jurisdiction, such as various strategies to monitor and improve circular performance, setting up material flow analysis tools, and facilitating relations with its surrounding urban areas on circular port issues.
Port authorities can potentially be the crucial intermediaries in transitioning the many different sectors that intersect in ports. Intermediation helps to balance the many different objectives and efforts in the complex network of port-related actors and stakeholders.