Castelein, Bob, Ron van Duin, & Harry Geerlings (2019). Identifying dominant stakeholder perspectives on sustainability issues in reefer transportation. A Q-method study in the Port of Rotterdam. Sustainability, 11(12), art. 3425. (doi: 10.3390/su11123425) (Link: (Accessible:

Abstract: Driven by global climate concerns, seaports have formulated sustainability goals, which also require sustainability gains in the fast growing temperature-controlled logistics market—increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste, and streamlining logistics processes. This, however, requires cooperation and buy-in from a wide range of stakeholders. To explore the barriers and facilitators of such a transition, we map the interests and attitudes of cold chain actors in the Port of Rotterdam regarding sustainability issues in reefer transportation and cold chains. We identify a limited number of broadly shared perspectives using Q-methodology—a survey-based method to study subjective viewpoints (originating from psychology) that has been used only rarely in the freight transport field. The analysis yields four ‘dominant’ perspectives that together account for 46% of the variation among stakeholder viewpoints. We label these perspectives “sustainability as part of strategy”, “short term constraints”, “optimistic about technology, limited role for policy”, and “long run willingness under risk avoidance.” These perspectives are characterized by multiple factors, including the evaluation of organizational capabilities, expectations from policymakers and technology, and the time horizon stakeholder organizations consider regarding sustainability concerns. From the findings, we derive recommendations for managers and policy makers to facilitate stakeholder dialogue and possibly convergence and coalition building.

Bob Castelein <> is in the Department of Public Administration and Sociology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.