A Model for Maritime Freight Flows, Port Competition and Hinterland Transport

A Model for Maritime Freight Flows, Port Competition and Hinterland Transport


B Zondag, Significance / Delft University of Technology, NL; P Bucci, Significance, NL; P G├╝tzkow, NEA, NL, G de Jong, Significance / NEA, NL & ITS Leeds, UK


A freight transport model focussing on ports is presented that includes worldwide maritime freight flows, competition between ports and hinterland transport.


The last three decades freight transport and especially container transport has grown very rapidly worldwide. Globalization, economic growth and the rising Chinese economy have tremendously increased flows of goods between the continents and this has significantly affected the development of container transport. From 1985 to 2005 global container transport grew on average by 10% per year and the growth rate of container flows from now to 2020 is still expected to be 7.5% per year. This puts high pressure on port operations and hinterland connections, and highlights the need for forecasting and decision support systems on these issues.

The current toolbox to support policy making (at the international, national or regional scale) consists mainly of large scale conventional transport models or more dedicated port forecasting models. The traditional transport models include valuable information on freight flows between regions and on hinterland transport infrastructure, which allows chain or door-to-door assignment of freight flows. An important shortcoming of these conventional transport models is that competition between ports and sector specific trends or developments (e.g. scale expansion) do not affect the choice of the ports as part of the assignment. Port forecasting models often produce detailed forecasts by commodity type under the assumption of a fixed hinterland. Some port forecast models do include the element of competition (e.g. CPB, 2003; or more academic studies such as Dekker, 2005 and Sanders et al. 2006). However so far these models lack a detailed integration with trade flows and hinterland infrastructure needed to simulate port competition as part of logistic chain choices.

This paper describes a new approach taken by NEA and Significance to calculate port freight flows under different macro-economic and sector specific scenarios. The model is designed to calculate the impacts of a wide range of policy measures (e.g. infrastructure, pricing) in the port itself and its hinterland connections. Key elements in this approach are:
? Port competition is an explicit component of the modelling. In many regions ports do have overlapping hinterlands and an improvement in port A reduces volumes in port B.
? A logistic chain approach (water access, port, hinterland) is taken in the assignment and developments in each component will affect port volume flows.
? Use of utility theory as a basis since this provides an integrated value for cost, time and quality factors:
o responses are consistent with economic theory, e.g. higher costs lead to lower volumes;
o the theory accounts for unobserved elements and taste variation; this will result in a spread over the options;
o application to detailed market segments (origin-destination, unit type, commodity group, ship vessel size category);
o use of a nested structure to integrate hinterland options in the port choice.
? The port forecasting tool is integrated within the WORLDNET database, which provides world wide freight flows at a NSTR 3 digit level between regions (for Europe the zones are modelled at the NUTS 3 level).
? Sector specific scenarios are included to address changes in the industry like horizontal and vertical integration or developments in average vessel size.

The approach is demonstrated for a pilot study covering the Le Havre ? Hamburg range. The paper will report findings from this pilot describing the sensitivity of port flow volumes to port expansion and hinterland investment plans or pricing policies.


Association for European Transport