Year 2011 concludes with a highlight for the port research activities of the PortEconomics team, the contribution of five port studies in the just published Blackwell Companion to Maritime Economics. The volume, edited by Wayne Talley, provides a comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the entire scope of issues relating to shipping and port economics, containing in total 11 chapters concerned with the economics of ports – i.e., the provision of port services and the users of these services,
Mary Brooks and Thanos Pallis discuss the recent developments in port governance. The globalization of production and distribution, changing forms of cargo transportation and technological breakthroughs ended a long period of stable, state-controlled (govern- ment) port governance in most countries. Although government ownership of ports remains firmly entrenched in many countries, private management in the provision of port services has also been widely adopted. Port corporatization continues to be an acceptable governance option. Under port reform, ports have incurred difficulty in addressing issues with their hinterlands, such as congestion and infrastructure investment beyond the traditional boundaries of the port. In some cases, this has spurred interest in broader and more community-based governance models. A study of major international ports reveals the involvement of private interests in port terminal operations, a movement toward more effective and efficient management of ports, a trend for port authorities to go beyond their traditional functions, and recognition of the economic influences on ports.
Competition among and the competitiveness of container ports is the theme of the study conducted by Theo Notteboom and Wei Yim Yap. Container ports are in a better position to compete with neighboring container ports if they have modern infrastructures supported by competitive and reliable transportation services and serve as collection and distribution points for hinterlands that extend far beyond their traditional boundaries. Ports that lose ship calls will experience a decline in connectivity, choice of service providers and container throughput. The negative impact will also affect other ports that have complementary services with the port. A methodology is presented for analyzing inter-container port competition and competitiveness of container ports along the Malacca Strait, the Pearl River Delta and the Antwerp–Hamburg range. It is demonstrated that the configuration of container shipping line services has a direct effect on inter-container port competition. The decision by a container shipping line to switch port calls from one port to another can lead to significant economic and commercial ramifications for both ports. Container ports that are less flexible in accommodating the needs of shipping lines may be circumvented, while ports that are able to accommodate, complement and add value to the port calls of container shipping lines will be preferred.
Peter de Langen and Elvira Haezendonck discuss port clusters. A port cluster is a spatially concentrated group of firms of related industries for which one firm is a port; these firms are linked through vertical and horizontal relationships. The chapter discusses the relevance of applying the cluster concept to ports, as well as the port cluster concept as a tool for analyzing the impact of port cooperation and changing port governance structures on ports located in geographical proximity. Central to the port cluster concept is the recognition that interdependent firms cluster together in port regions for purposes of coordination and resource sharing. Analyzing ports from the perspective of port clusters provides (1) new insights into determinants of port competitiveness, (2) additional measures of port performance, (3) insights into the role of the port in promoting activities among interdependent firms in its region, and (4) an alternative framework to that of port governance for describing the role of port authorities. A dominant firm such as a port authority may have a strong influence on the performance of a cluster. In many port clusters, the port authority or a terminal operator plays a crucial role in the success of the port cluster.
George Vaggelas along with Adolf K.Y. Ng focus on port security, and the ISPS Code in particular. Their study is concerned with port security activities within the port’s domain that protect port facilities and coordinate security activities between the port and its users. It discusses the International Maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, the major international port security regulatory code, and examines the challenges faced by ports in the implementation of this Code. For the latter, cases studies of port security at Hong Kong in Asia and Piraeus in Europe are used. In Hong Kong, port security is not widely regarded as an important port issue, as revealed by the fact that port security man- agers hold junior positions. The core rationale of port security compliance by major stakeholders of the Port of Hong Kong appears to be one of avoiding potential economic consequences from non-compliance (e.g., losing US trade). In contrast, the Port of Piraeus has a strong security culture. It has implemented a stricter form of the ISPS Code, and cooperates with other ports on port security know-how and good practice.
Finally, PortEconomics associate member Pierre Cariou partners with François-Charles Wolff and Maximo Q. Mejia, Jr in a discussion of port state control (PSC) – a regime of unannounced safety inspections on board foreign ships in ports or marine terminals by designated PSC authorities for the purpose of verifying the adherence of ships to international regulations related to ship manning, equipment, maintenance and operations – and the deficiencies of the system PSC inspections provide information about factors such as vessel age, vessel type, classification society and vessel flag, which may predict the likelihood that a vessel will be found to be substandard. These factors are reflected in the target factors used by PSC regional memoranda of understanding (MoUs). This chapter describes these target factors and how vessel deficiencies detected during PSC inspections are corrected or recur over time. A data set of 42,071 vessels/ inspections carried out from 2002 to 2009 by 18 state members of the Indian Ocean MoU (IO-MoU) is used to determine factors that increase the likelihood of detecting vessel deficiencies in PSC inspections and the persistence of vessel deficiencies in sub- sequent PSC inspections over time.