Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Chris Nash

Transport economics and policy analysis is a field which has seen major advances in methodology in recent decades, covering issues such as estimating cost functions, modelling of demand, dealing with externalities, examining industry ownership and structure, pricing and investment decisions and measuring economic impacts. This Handbook contains reviews of all these methods, with an emphasis on practical applications, commissioned from an international cast of experts in the field.

Chapter 15: Port pricing

Hilde Meersman, Siri Pettersen Strandenes and Eddy Van de Voorde

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, research methods in the environment, transport, research methods, research methods in economics, research methods in the environment, urban and regional studies, research methods in urban and regional studies, transport


The complexity of current port pricing schemes is striking. When calling at a port, ship operators are commonly presented with a detailed menu of services. Prices reflect the diversity that exists in terms of the kind of services and service standards offered, as well as the port entities or operators offering them, and whether the supplier is a private firm or a public infrastructure provider. The result is an opaque price structure that complicates ship operators’ and cargo owners’ port choice and hence softens port competition (and competition among container lines). Such multi-pricing structures reflect the fact that ports are complex service centres offering a considerable range of service products. The associated costs are usually arranged in three categories: port-calling costs, terminal-handling costs and concession pricing. By port-calling costs, we mean costs of all services offered to the vessel, ranging from access to quay or terminal, to pilotage, to the supply of water and bunkering, i.e. they encompass all ship-handling costs.

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