Smart Transport Networks

Smart Transport Networks

Market Structure, Sustainability and Decision Making

NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research

Edited by Thomas Vanoutrive and Ann Verhetsel

Transport is debated by many, and liberalization processes, transport policy, transport and climate change and increased competition between transport modes are the subject of heated discussion. Smart Transport Networks illustrates that whether concerning road, water, rail or air, knowledge on the structure of transport markets is crucial in order to tackle transport issues. The book therefore explores key factors concerning the structure of transport markets, their environmental impact, and questions why decision makers often fail to tackle transport-related problems.

Chapter 2: Nothing remains the same! Port competition revisited

Hilde Meersman, Eddy Van de Voorde and Thierry Vanelslander

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


Science evolves quickly, and transport economics is certainly no exception, as its rapid development over the past decades has shown (Blauwens et al., 2010). Within the field of transport economics, port competition remains an important topic of study (for example, Van de Voorde and Vanelslander, 2010; Ersini et al., 2011; Gaur et al., 2011; Veldman et al.,2011). The amount of research attention it attracts is due to its socioeconomic significance: depending on the competitive strength of a port, throughput volumes can be enormous and the impact in terms of industrial investment and employment quite substantial. Moreover the field of port economics itself has also evolved considerably. In the past, the literature has tended to treat ports as rather homogeneous entities. A good example of this ‘old’ approach is found in Verhoeff (1981), where ports are considered to compete with one another at different operational levels: within the national territory for goods and investments in additional infrastructure; within the port cluster (that is, a group of ports in each other’s vicinity with common geographical characteristics)for a shared hinterland; and within the port range (that is, ports located along the same coastline or largely overlapping hinterlands) for investment and traffic, especially from areas where the spheres of influence of different ranges overlap.

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