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2024/2025  BA-BISHV2401U  Strategic Management and Sustainability in Maritime Business

English Title
Strategic Management and Sustainability in Maritime Business

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 40
Study board
Study Board for BSc in International Shipping and Trade
Course coordinator
  • Michele Acciaro - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 05-02-2024

Relevant links

Learning objectives
Critically engage with current academic, policy, and industry debates in the maritime business.
  • Analyze and structure strategic and operational challenges related to sustainability in shipping and maritime logistics, proposing viable solutions.
  • Combine and apply concepts, theories, and methods of strategic management and economics to create and evaluate sustainable business models in the shipping industry.
  • Develop and articulate relevant strategic choices for sustainability in shipping.
  • Define and critically assess the strategic implications of emerging sustainability-related technologies in shipping, incorporating strategic management perspectives.
  • Understand and analyze innovation processes in international shipping, leveraging strategic management tools to foster sustainable practices.
  • Assess complex problems with conflicting objectives in maritime business, utilizing strategic management tools for effective decision-making and communication of solutions.
Strategic Management and Sustainability in Maritime Business:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Group exam
Please note the rules in the Programme Regulations about identification of individual contributions.
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Release of assignment An assigned subject is released in class
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

This course delves into the critical role of strategic management in enhancing the competitiveness of maritime companies through sustainability. In recent years, environmental sustainability has become a central aspect of all shipping sectors, driven by the escalating climate crisis, stringent environmental and social regulations, heightened public scrutiny, and a shift towards greater ecological awareness and value orientation.


Traditionally, the shipping industry has been marked by low social responsibility, relaxed environmental regulation and enforcement, and a predominant focus on short-term profits. However, a paradigm shift is occurring as more companies integrate sustainability into their core business strategies, often in response to pressures from regulators, customers, or other stakeholders. The introduction of new technologies, decarbonization initiatives, and the welfare implications of maritime business underscore the critical need for sustainable strategies in every facet of the shipping business. Especially pertinent are environmental regulations and decarbonization, likely to catalyze structural changes and compel managers to navigate an increasingly complex business landscape. In this evolving context, it is critical for maritime businesses to assess, develop, and implement innovative strategies for compliance and sustainable growth.


The course offers advanced insights into the shipping business, contextualized within a rapidly shifting regulatory and economic landscape. It equips students with the skills to reflect on significant business challenges and discern how the shipping sector must transform to align with the evolving needs of its customers and stakeholders. A key focus is the balancing act between short-term profitability, which often drives shipping companies, and long-term societal objectives grounded in sustainable development principles. Students will learn to make business decisions under uncertainty, evaluate innovative approaches for sustainability in shipping, and effectively communicate and advocate for transformative change in their future organizations.


The curriculum is divided into three modules: (1) Foundations of Strategic Management and Sustainability, in which the foundational concepts and tools used later in the course will be discussed. These first weeks will also give students with no familiarity with the shipping industry to dedicate some time to acquire basic knowledge on the sector. (2) The Integration of Sustainability in Strategic Management in Maritime Businesses, which examines how sustainability considerations shape a shipping firm’s strategy, encompassing innovation, corporate social responsibility, and long-term environmental commitments. This module explores how sustainability is (or should be) an essential component of corporate strategy in shipping, enhancing competitiveness and leveraging external changes and internal resources for strategic positioning. (3) Operational Impacts of Sustainability in Maritime Business, focusing on how sustainability considerations, including decarbonization, new low-carbon fuels, and environmental compliance, influence day-to-day operations. All modules draw from various disciplines to provide management insights on technological, operational, regulatory, and geopolitical developments in shipping.


Each session combines theoretical readings with case studies on current challenges faced by firms in the maritime sectors (ports, shipping companies, maritime service providers, etc.). This approach enables students to understand and apply strategic frameworks, recognizing their potential and limitations. Students will learn to synthesize ideas and concepts to address complex, real-world problems and acquire relevant knowledge for tackling sustainability issues in shipping. Through the analysis of case studies, students will explore how executives have identified opportunities for innovation and translated them into strategic decisions or adapted their operations in response to the changing environment.This course empowers students with the acumen to integrate strategic management with sustainability principles, preparing them to drive meaningful change in the maritime business sector.

Description of the teaching methods
Teaching methods include case study analysis, group discussions and lectures, based on frontal teaching and blended learning. Students are expected to prepare readings and cases prior to each session and actively participate in class.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be given in class in group work based on group discussions and presentation
Student workload
Lecture 38 hours
Preparation 167 hours
Exam 48 hours
Expected literature

Literature will be provided during the course. The following is an indicative list.

  • Acciaro, M. (2014). Real option analysis for environmental compliance: LNG and emission control areas. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 28, 41-50.
  • Acciaro, M. (2022). Sustainable Maritime Business, Lecture notes.
  • Christodoulou, A., & Cullinane, K. (2022). Potential alternative fuel pathways for compliance with the ‘FuelEU Maritime Initiative’. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 112, 103492.
  • Dirzka, C., & Acciaro, M. (2021). Principal-agent problems in decarbonizing container shipping: A panel data analysis. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 98, 102948.
  • Harlaftis, G., et al. (2012). The World's Key Industry: History and Economics of International Shipping. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Harvard Business School cases (coursepack to be downloaded from Harvard Business School Publishing prior to first session; detailed instructions will be provided through CBS Learn).
  • Hitt, M. A., et al. (2015). Strategic Management: Competitiveness & Globalization: Concepts and Cases. Mason, Ohio, South-Western Cengage Learning.
  • Johnson et al. (2017). Exploring Strategy. Text and Cases (11th Edition). Edinburgh Gate; UK, Pearson.
  • Lorange, P. (2009). Shipping Strategy: Innovating for Success. Cambridge; New York, Cambridge University Press.
  • Lun, Y. V., Lai, K. H., Wong, C. W., & Cheng, T. E. (2016). Green shipping management. New York: Springer.
  • Pomaska, L., & Acciaro, M. (2022). Bridging the Maritime-Hydrogen Cost-Gap: Real options analysis of policy alternatives. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 107, 103283.
  • Psaraftis, H. N., Amboy, P., & Psaraftis. (2019). Sustainable shipping. Berlin: Springer International Publishing.
Last updated on 05-02-2024