Stakeholder management and path dependence in large-scale transport infrastructure development: the port of Antwerp case (1960–2010) is the theme of a new port study by PortEconomics member Michael Dooms, PortEconomics associate member Elvira Haezendonck, in collaboration with Alain Verbeke.
The present study argues that the effective implementation of new, large-scale seaport infrastructure projects provides a stimulus to policy makers to engage on a path of continuous reflection on who and what matters in decision-making: the continuous updating of one’s understanding of spatial differentiation of stakeholder views is critical in this respect, and involves the real inclusion of spatially proximate and spatially distant stakeholders.
The authors analyse the role of path dependency in the socio-political process of long-term strategic port planning and the related requisite governance changes needed for effective implementation of large scale port projects. The researchers mainly base themselves on the most recent insights from stakeholder theory and the strategic planning literature, applied to the transport sector. Further, they take as a starting point one of the criticisms on path dependence that its proper application warrants more attention to temporal dynamics. The study attempts to define these temporal dynamics and argues that (1) these are best identified by means of stakeholder-based analysis, and (2) long-term, strategic port planning based on real stakeholder inclusion can act as a driver for governance change in the broader port region or port system.
The study uses a case-based, action-research type methodological approach, analyzing the strategic port planning process of the port of Antwerp to support the argument. The paper combines diachronic analysis of stakeholder inclusion in port planning, with an analysis of the general economic and infrastructural evolution of the port area and its impacts on stakeholders since 1960, and pays special attention to port governance changes during the period 1960–2010.
The study is published in a special issue of the scholarly journal Journal of Transport Geography on the theme of “Institutions and the Transformation of Transport Nodes” that has been edited by the members of the PortEconomics team Adolf Ng and Thanos Pallis in collaboration with Prof. Peter Hall (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver CA).
You might download the authors’ version of the study @ PortEconomics:
Read more about the special issue @ PortEconomics: Institutions and the Transformation of Transport Nodes