Port Competitiveness Determinants of Selected European Ports in the Containerized Cargo Market
R Aronietis, E Van de Voorde, T Vanelslander, University of Antwerp, NL
The study identifies the determinants of port competitiveness in a literature review and tests those by interviewing top management of shipping lines. Results are then applied to selected ports to compare their competitiveness.
The issue of port competitiveness has been an important topic over recent years, and, with the effects that ports are suffering from the recent crisis, it is only gaining importance. This is true also in the context of containerized cargo. Understanding the determinants of port competitiveness is important to address the issue of reducing cargo flows.
In order to identify the determinants of port competitiveness, a literature review based on 30 references was done. The choice of references was not constrained by geographical considerations. Some older sources were reviewed, but the main focus is on the most recent literature. We focused on the port selection criteria that other authors identify as important and also on the methodology that they use.
To test the information obtained in the literature review and evaluate the criteria identified in the literature, interviews with shipping lines were held. Top management people were interviewed, covering 11 shipping lines that operate 45.7% of the world fleet of container vessels. The input provided by respondents from shipping companies enabled us to identify decision makers in port selection and evaluate the importance of port selection criteria for shipping companies.
By applying the port selection criteria to a set of ports in Europe, we compare their attractiveness. An evaluation by shipping companies of the importance and properties of different hinterland transport modes was obtained. According to the input provided by the respondents from shipping lines, the most important port competitiveness criteria for shipping companies are the cost and the quality of hinterland connections.
The results of the research described in this paper are of high relevance to port authorities and policymakers in charge. Applicable conclusions can be drawn in order to improve the competitiveness of a port.
The paper is structured in the following way: Section 1 introduces the topic; Section 2 presents literature review; Section 3 presents the information obtained in the interviews with shipping lines; Section 4 applies port selection criteria to a set of ports and evaluates their competitiveness; and Section 5 lists a number of conclusions.
Association for European Transport