The Role of Capacity and Traffic Uncertainty in Hinterland Connections: Strategies for the Case Port of Zeebruges

The Role of Capacity and Traffic Uncertainty in Hinterland Connections: Strategies for the Case Port of Zeebruges

Katrien De Langhe (University of Antwerp, Belgium), Hilde Meersman (University of Antwerp, Belgium), Christa Sys (University of Antwerp, Belgium), Eddy Van de Voorde (University of Antwerp, Belgium) and Thierry Vanelslander (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0001-8.ch017


Ports are crucial links in supply chains, creating wealth for adjacent regions. Concerning port competitiveness, it is indicated in literature that good hinterland connections are crucial. Therefore, this chapter offers a framework to make decisions about hinterland connections. To do this, analysis of scientific studies and consulting reports was conducted in combination with discussions with experts. Last, the structure of analysis is applied upon the Port of Zeebruges, which features a strong imbalance between its strong maritime potential, and the relatively weak hinterland connections. The analysis results in strategies of optimizing the strategic decision making. From the real option theory, it is clear that a phased strategy is most suitable. The integrated analysis provides a framework to make investment decisions about port investments in general and hinterland connections in particular, and a pathway solution to a concrete case. Therefore, the study is relevant for policy makers and scientific researchers.
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Background On Port Competition

When dealing with hinterland investment needs, firstly, port competition should be considered. The latter is of growing importance in port economics. Meersman et al. (2010) indicate that “Within a given country, ports may compete for freight flows as well as for investment in additional infrastructure. Within a port cluster, they may vie for the same hinterland. And between port ranges, there is growing competition for investments and traffic”.

Ports are nodes in different logistics chains and networks. These chains compete with each other. Therefore, all actors in the chain, including the ports, are part of this competition (Van de Voorde & Vanelslander, 2008). In a maritime logistics chain, there are three important parts: the maritime part, the goods handling part within the port area and the transport towards the hinterland (Van de Voorde & Vanelslander, 2008). An overview of this maritime chain is given in figure 1.

Figure 1.

Maritime logistics chain

Source: Van de Voorde & Vanelslander, 2008

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