The impact of innovation on dock labour: evidence from European ports

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The market environment of ports and terminals is continuously pushing terminal operators to achieve higher levels of dock labour performance. This paper proposes an original conceptual framework to identify, classify and evaluate innovative initiatives of terminal operators addressed to enhance dock labour performance. We link the innovation concept to a market-driven perspective on the organization of dock work in light of changing market requirements. The conceptual approach not only considers technological innovations, but also organisational and regulatory innovations. The framework is used to analyse a set of innovative initiatives of terminal operators in European seaports. The findings reveal that innovative initiatives can have very different characteristics and ramifications when looking at the type of innovation, the boundaries of innovation, the nature of the actors involved, the (expected) magnitude of impact and the impact of labour performance.