Ex-post Economic Analysis of an Infrastructure Project in the Port of Antwerp



Ex-post Economic Analysis of an Infrastructure Project in the Port of Antwerp

Authors

B Vergauwen, University of Antwerp, BE

Description

Lessons can be drawn with respect to the caution that is needed when estimating ex-ante costs and benefits concerning large infrastructure projects in tranport.

Abstract

A social cost-benefit analysis is a good and common method to evaluate large investments in infrastructure projects in an economic way. The purpose of such an analysis is to examine whether the project will benefit to social wealth or not. If the social costs turn out to be larger than the social benefits, then the project should be abandoned. Otherwise, if social benefits are higher than social costs, it would be advisable to proceed with the infrastructure investments. However, cost-benefit analyses are based on forecast figures, which can be different from the real costs and benefits. Forecasts are subject to uncertainty and should be considered with care. Therefore, an ex-post analysis is interesting to make a comparison between forecast and real values.

In this paper, an ex-post analysis will be made of an infrastructure project at Brussels Airport (Belgium). At the end of the 80?s, an expansion of the airport was necessary because of increasing traffic. A new terminal was built in a first phase, as well as a new pier, ?pier B?. In a second phase, pier A was built in 1999, which is connected to the main building of the airport by a tunnel. This infrastructure project was designed to deal with the Schengen traffic in Europe. The pier connects 31 gates for traffic exclusively within this Schengen area. It was officially opened on May 16th, 2002.

The paper will have a close look at the original cost-benefit analysis of the infrastructure project. It will compare the original to the actual, ex-post costs and benefits and it will examine the most influencing variables on costs and benefits in particular, such as investment expenses and maintenance costs of the government, environmental costs, traffic forecasts, cost savings for port users, employment during construction and maintenance.

Lessons can be drawn with respect to the caution that is needed when estimating ex-ante costs and benefits, and with respect to the cost and benefit elements that are of highest importance in port investment analysis. As such, the results are beneficial to academics as well as business practitioners.

Publisher

Association for European Transport