Recent decades have brought a growing commitment of investors in the (co-)funding and management of inland terminals, particularly container terminals. However, the actors involved, the forms of third-party entry, and the emerging partnerships in inland terminals have only been investigated on a fragmented basis in inland port research.
In a new port study, PortEconomics co-director Theo Notteboom and co-researchers Dong Yang, and Xin Zhou, analyse entry strategies of actors in inland container terminals on the Rhine and Yangtze in terms of their spatial, temporal and institutional characteristics. The unit of analysis is the inland container terminal, not necessarily the entire inland port (which might have more than one terminal).
The entry strategies and the drivers behind these strategies are examined using a conceptual framework focused on five questions, i.e. who, where, when, why, and which way. The empirical application is based on a large dataset of all container terminals on the Rhine and Yangtze.
Published in the Journal of Transport Geography, the paper is freely downloadable for the next 50 days via the link https://lnkd.in/d2qik6B .
The findings suggest clear differences between the two rivers in terms of the type of operators, the sequence of inland port development, and also the major actors shaping the inland terminal landscape. Despite these differences, there is also some level of similarity, including a low presence of international players, the absence of deepsea (landlord) port authorities, and observed waves of single acquisition, multiple-site acquisition, and capital entry in the terminals. Government policies, institutional frameworks, and the nature of shipping network development are determinants of inland port investment and the entry strategies adopted by relevant actors. The findings contribute to a better understanding of the drivers and contextual environment guiding entry strategies in inland ports and can help policy makers and port operators in inland rivers to assess and benchmark their strategy.
The port study adds to the existing literature by considering spatiotemporal aspects of terminal ownership and the strategic considerations of and institutional drivers and impediments to the inland terminal strategies of the corresponding actors. 1. Introduction Over the past few decades, scholars have been occupied with the strategic role of inland ports within increasingly globally integrated supply chains. Various terms have been used to refer to the inland port concept: dry port, inland clearance depot, inland container depot, intermodal freight center, inland terminal, hinterland terminal, transfer terminal, extended gate, freight village, etc. The resulting conceptual ambiguity originates from temporal and spatial dimensions that make the concept of inland port time and place dependent and subject to forces of path dependence and spatial embeddedness.