International Handbook of Maritime Economics
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International Handbook of Maritime Economics

Edited by Kevin Cullinane

This timely and comprehensive new Handbook brings together an unrivalled group of distinguished scholars and practitioners to provide in-depth analysis and a contemporary perspective on a wide-ranging array of topics in maritime economics.
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Chapter 17: Seaport Efficiency and Productivity Growth

Carlos Barros, Hercules Haralambides, Mohamed Hussain and Nicolas Perpoch


Carlos Barros, Hercules Haralambides, Mohamed Hussain and Nicolas Peypoch 17.1 Introduction Efficiency at the enterprise level is assuming increasing dimensions, due to the globalization of production, transport and distribution, and the consequent intensification of international competition (Haralambides, 2002). At the same time, the decoupling of output from trade has led to a remarkable growth in seaborne transportation, which is expected to grow even more in the future. The reliability, safety, time and cost of ocean transportation, together with the morphology of our planet, have made this transport mode the principal means of international trade. Furthermore, technological advances in ship construction and automation, and the highly competitive nature of the shipping industry, have resulted in lower transport costs, shrinking ‘economic’ distances and more trade. Ports have been playing an increasingly important role in our trading system. Trade liberalization and the development of land infrastructure have abolished national (economic) borders and captive hinterlands, obliging ports to compete fiercely for custom, particularly transhipment cargo transported in containers through marine terminals. Greater carrier choice in routing cargo and parallel advances in logistics and supply chain management have thus changed competition from one between ports to one between supply chains. The new expectations from ports are today clearly felt by port administrations who realize, often painfully, that the benefits of fine-tuning supply chains can be easily withered away by bottlenecks in inefficient ports (Haralambides et al., 2002). This realization has led to a global restructuring of the port industry. Ports are thus adopting new organizational...

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