Charging Practices in European Ports - User Reaction on Differentiation of Charges
G Wilmsmeier, A Baird, Napier University, UK
The paper investigates short- and long-term effects of existing and planned charging schemes on ships and cost-elasticities for ship operators in European ports. Thus, providing recommendations for effective differentiation of charges in this sector.
In the European Union levels and structures of port infrastructure charges vary strongly across countries and terminals. The existing charging regimes seem to be far from internalising external costs and are rarely based on efficiency principles. Differentiation of charges might be an intermediate step towards the envisaged application of marginal social cost pricing in the European Union. The research presented in this paper is part of the EU project: DIFFERENT ? User reaction and efficient differentiation in charges and tolls (www.different-project.eu).
The paper analyzes the existing structure of differentiation in charges for a number of European container ports to understand current practices and to identify existing differences. The paper seeks to understand the user perspective of the existing charges and their potential reaction of further differentiation of these charges.
In many cases the structure of charges is quite vague and not available publicly (i.e. Handling charges). Further, analysis is constrained due to the fact that the shipping market is rather market-driven and displays relative high levels of vertical integration within the transport chain.
The authors compare data from two primary sources. On the one side they use qualitative data derived from personal interviews at a number of ports, on the other they draw from results obtained through a stated preference questionnaire with port users.
The main goal is to investigate effects on users through the differentiation of port charges and to estimate the elasticity of user reaction on changes towards more differential charging practices.
Thus, the paper investigates the short-term and long-term effects of existing and planned charging schemes on ships for port channels/fairways, associated port infrastructure and port services. In this complex environment the study attempts to gain further understanding of cost-elasticities for ship operators.
Based on the new insight gained during the research in the paper provides recommendations for effective differentiation of charges in the European port sector.
Association for European Transport