Decision-making instruments for container seaport sustainable development: management platform and system dynamics model


Global seaborne container trade accounts for approximately 60% of all world seaborne trade. A container seaport is a key node in maritime transport, where (un)loading operations produce GHG emissions. Therefore, the effective emissions reduction decisions should be taken by the container seaport executives on operational, tactical and strategic levels. This research contributes in developing the decision-making instruments for emissions reduction at a container seaport, namely: (1) a management platform (based on three management levels); (2) a system dynamics model (with the variables that reflect the main sources of emissions from container seaport activities). A management platform consequently leads the executives through the process of emissions estimation and three-level decision-making to reduce the emissions. A system dynamics model serves as the instrument to evaluate the decisions taken and to analyze the container seaport system environmental performance over the defined period. The representation of a seaport as a system, the system dynamics modeling and the case study methods were used in the research. Four “what if” scenarios of emissions reduction decisions were performed using the case study method. The suggested management platform and the system dynamics model can serve as the decision-making instruments for the container seaport authorities on operational, tactical and strategic management levels when they develop the container seaport environmental programs.

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Container seaport

CO2 :

Carbon dioxide


Carbon dioxide equivalent


Greenhouse gas


Management platform


System dynamics


Ocean going vessel


Harbor craft


Cargo-handling equipment


Heavy-duty vehicle


Railroad locomotive


Causal loop diagram


Twenty-foot equivalent unit


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This work is partially supported by the National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 20BGL003), the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province for Youths, China (Grant No. 2017J05116). We deeply appreciate the organizations mentioned above.

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Correspondence to Yuliya Mamatok.

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Huang, Y., Mamatok, Y. & Jin, C. Decision-making instruments for container seaport sustainable development: management platform and system dynamics model. Environ Syst Decis (2021).

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  • Management platform
  • System dynamics model
  • Container seaport
  • Sustainable development
  • Decision-making instruments