Chapter 12: The Economics Behind the Awarding of Terminals in Seaports: Towards a Research Agenda
12 The economics behind the awarding of terminals in seaports: towards a research agenda* Christophe Theys,** Theo E. Notteboom, Athanasios A. Pallis*** and Peter W. De Langen 1 Introduction Port economic research has witnessed a strong surge in the last couple of years (see, for example, Cullinane and Talley, 2006). Seaports worldwide are confronted with scarcity of land and large, often global, infrastructure users. The awarding of terminals to these users is the prime task of landlord port authorities. Yet terminal concessions in seaports have only recently attracted academic attention (see, for example, Notteboom, 2007; Pallis et al., 2008). Issues such as the allocation mechanisms (to be) used for granting seaport concessions, the determination of the concession term and concession fees, and the inclusion of special clauses aimed at ensuring that the terminal operator will act in the interest of the port authority and the wider community (for example, throughput guarantees and environmental clauses), are interesting both academically and for the port industry. General economics literature on concessions and licences has a rich history (see, for example, seminal works of Demsetz, 1968, and Williamson, 1976). Methodologies developed around auction theory have led to new applications, including the auction of spectrum licences for telecom operators (see, for example, Kwerel and Felker, 1985; Hazlett, 1998; Binmore and Klemperer, 2002). At the same time, the use of auctions in granting concessions has been challenged by the theory of negotiations. So far, insights from auction theory and other economic theories have rarely been applied...
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