The Liberalization of Infrastructure
- Elgar original reference
Edited by Matthias Finger and Rolf W. Künneke
17 Maritime ports Lourdes Trujillo and Marianela Gonzalez INTRODUCTION In the majority of countries, most international trade (export/import), and in some cases also large shares of domestic trade, is done through maritime transport. This means that about 90 per cent of goods exchanged through international trade in the world go through ports since ports act as interfaces between maritime and inland modes of transport. This is why also they are at the centre of all intermodal policy decisions. There are 2814 international ports catering to freight traffic registered in the world. Port traffic increases at an average rate of about 3 per cent per year. All this defines ports as economic and service units of notable importance in the global economy. The role of a modern seaport can be summarized in the following United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) definition: Seaports are interfaces between several modes of transport, and thus they are centers for combined transport. Furthermore, they are multi-functional markets and industrial areas where goods are not only in transit, but they are also sorted, manufactured and distributed. As a matter of fact, seaports are multi-dimensional systems, which must be integrated within logistic chains to fulfill properly their functions. An efficient seaport requires, besides infrastructure, superstructure and equipment, adequate connections to other transport modes, a motivated management, and sufficiently qualified employees. (UNCTAD, 1996) In the above definition, one of the main characteristics of seaports is the diversity of its activities. The opportunities to introduce competition in the...
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