With regards the international trade that is carried most by sea, each port can be conceived as a unique node which, with the aim of increasing its competitiveness, aims to attract traffic and economic activities.
However, each ports is necessarily an integral part of a wider system located in proximity of a given area (region, country, or transnational space), therefore made up of multiple nodes that are related to each other and whose governance is jointly influenced, within a certain spatial range and time lapse.
In this contest, the need to go beyond single specificities is evident, moving from a local approach to an international vision, further understanding of the co-developments in port systems also through a multidisciplinary and multi-level contribution.
The complexity of a port system in a process of continuous evolution, can in fact favor complementarity and synergies between the individual nodes to which particular attention should be paid.
Port Systems in Global Competition is a synthesis and update about the relevant theories, concepts, methods, and sources that can be mobilized for the analysis of port systems.
The theoretical and empirical knowledge can in fact support and enhance decision-making in relation with the development of ports, supply chains, and transport networks in general.
This book delves into the analysis of port systems from diverse disciplinary fields (geography, regional science, economics, management, engineering, and mathematics/computer sciences), covering innovative empirical approaches in various port systems at the international level, trough the contributions from reputable experts coming from different countries in Europe, Asia, and North America.
César Ducruet and Theo Notteboom in the chapter “A systematic and critical review of port system research” investigates how port systems have been studied since the pioneer works of the 1960s, from a concept of port system remains relatively vague and ill-defined, ranging from a geographic or administrative area containing two or more ports to an interconnected set of port nodes in a given network. New concepts are emerging in port system studies, which underline the presence of different spatial patterns and processes, growing importance of maritime connectivity, after decades of dominant land-based models focusing on hinterlands, as well as widening focus from national to transnational and global.
Jason Monios and Gordon Wilmsmeier identify in their chapter, dedicated to the “Evolutionary models of port system development“, some key trends, such as concentration and deconcentration, the role of transshipment hubs, and the changes in port governance and port competition, also illustrated with examples from different experiences of the Latin American and Caribbean port system.
The next chapter provides an overview of the many ways scholars have attempted to understand urban systems through network-based approaches. Benjamin J. Preis provides in your contribution “Winding paths through urban systems and urban networks” an approach to the common challenges associated with using network methods to study urban systems, including confusion surrounding node and edge definition, also showing the many different types of nodes and edges that can comprise an urban network. In an effort to advance other theories, the authors recommend making the study of urban networks more applicable to the challenges of urban policymakers, and the challenges more concrete.
The Wusongkou International Cruise Port in China is used by James J. Wang, Adolf K.Y. Ng e Joseph Lau as the case study to exhibit “The implications of duality of trans(port) systems“. This chapter gives general discussions, useful information and conceptual ideas relevant on this significant topic in transport geography, discussing the key research agenda as well as the related gaps.
With the aim to study “The European ports’ size dynamics and hierarchies“, Rania Tassadit Dial, Gabriel Figueiredo De Oliveira, and Alexandra Schaffar propose an original exploration based on rank and Markov chain models. In their work, Markov matrices allow in fact observing possible changes in the port hierarchy and rank permutations between certain ports, building a rank-size model to characterize port hierarchies and their evolution over time, and studing the relative growth of ports within the rank distribution.
Modern ports generally developed away from the obsolete facilities near the urban core to less-urban locations with ample space and a better nautical accessibility, shifting of infrastructure and/or traffic from one location to another or to other multiple locations within a given period of time. Such port migration processes can involve new port or new terminal development near existing facilities (e.g., a new port area being developed on a greenfield site away from an existing older port area) or at medium and longer distance. In a number of cases, port migration can change the physical and spatial features of the port, e.g., a river port can become an estuary or coastal port. In their study on “Port migration patterns in the global port system since the 1950s”, César Ducruet, Theo Notteboom, and Brian Slack propose an overview of port migration throughout the world from a qualitative and quantitative perspective, concluding with a typology of port migration trajectories throughout the world.
The analysis of port competition from a hinterland perspective proposed by David Guerrero and Jean-Claude Thill it focuses on a set of countries for which there is not a clear geographical advantage of one port over another. Such contestable hinterlands seem particularly relevant for an appreciation of factors in favor of certain port alternatives, minimizing the distance effects.
With the expansion of the European Union toward the East and the subsequent development of East-West transport links, such as the Rhein-Main-Danube canal, it can be expected an increased competition between ports. In this work, dedicated to the “Port competition in contestable hinterlands: The case of preferential relationships and barrier effects in Central Europe” – against expectations – clearly appears the path dependence in the North-South organization of hinterlands, with a persistent split between Switzerland, mostly oriented toward Rotterdam and Antwerp, and the other countries from Central Europe, historically tied to German ports.
The chapter “Global cities and global logistics” shows a small number of global cities (that have both container ports and airports) account for a high share of global freight. The large local land demands of container terminals and airports seem inconsistent with the land cost and congestion associated with global cities and their regions. The understanding of the geography of freight activity is enriched in the Kevin O’Connor’s research by exploring the production and service sector functions of global cities, therefore the concentrations of high-skill production activity and high-level logistics services, along with the technical and urban management capacity of institutions in these city regions.
In the chapter “Port authority mergers in port systems: The path to ‘North Sea Port’ and ‘Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ in Flanders“, Theo Notteboom discusses the path toward large-scale port mergers and the experience involving port authorities of the Rhine-Scheldt Delta port system, including ports in the Netherlands and the region of Flanders in Belgium. In recent years, many port systems in the international contest have witnessed, in fact, the transition from the management of individual ports to the management of multi-port systems. In the most important multi-port gateway region in Europe, the mergers are result in a decades-long path creation process marked by matchmaking attempts, and governmental and port industry initiatives involving various actors and ports in proximity This is the case of the creation of North Sea Port in 2018 (the merger between Zeeland Seaports in the Netherlands and Port of Ghent in Flanders) and Port of Antwerp-Bruges in 2022, merges that have involved various actors and ports in proximity.
With the chapter “Cooperation and competition between container shipping networks and their impact on container hub ports in Southeast Asia“, Wei Yim Yap present a research focuses on the region port system of transshipment ports comprises the three major container hub ports of Singapore, Port Klang, and Tanjung Pelepas, offering important managerial and policy implications covering the aspects of port competition, shipping alliance networks, and joint venture terminals.
The most recent spate of mergers and acquisitions, as well as the alliance reshuffle in the container shipping industry, provide in fact the context for investigating and understanding impact of inter-port dynamics created by the evolution of cooperation and competition between container shipping networks.
Dedicated to the “Port collaboration in the Greater Bay Area: reality, challenge and opportunity“, the work of Dong Yang, Yang Chen e Qiang Zhang explore one of the most important tools for strategic port governance. This chapter discusses in particular port collaboration in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) by investigating its collaboration scheme, business mode, and operational pattern, as well as the evolution, challenges, and future opportunities. The GBA is home to the world’s fourth, fifth, and ninth-largest container ports in 2021, creating the world’s largest logistics zone with over 60 million TEU of throughput. Most coastal provinces in Mainland China have made in fact a substantial response toward the port collaboration/integration, that has been observed globally that a strategy to facilitate regional port development.
Karel Van den Berghe, Antoine Peris e Wouter Jacobs applies in their chapter “The emergence of polycentric port regions. The case of ARA and the US Gulf Coast” the polycentric port region concept, – which originates from urban studies -at the multiport gateway regions. With focus on the European Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) port region and the US Gulf port region, the study analyzes the three dimensions morphological, functional, and institutional with a perspective oriented at bringing out specialization and complementarity. The empirical results, based on Automatic Identification System (AIS) shipping network data, geographical mapping, and institutional historical analyses, show how both port regions are polycentric and characterized by important relations between them.
Because of the dynamic nature of shipping, the most reliable method of extracting insights regarding the characteristics of port connections is by studying the movement of vessels. “Discovering shipping networks from raw vessel movement” is a approach proposed by Alexandros-Nikolaos Troupiotis-Kapeliaris, Giannis Spiliopoulous, Marios Vodas e Dimitris Zissis capable of producing data-driven insights regarding vessel movement and shipping trends. Through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and processing a large amounts of mobility data available daily, the proposed method produces density maps through a novel metric, that considers the shipping attributes of the traveling vessels and captures the capacity and importance of shipping routes.
The COVID-19 pandemic, that has impacted global supply chain networks and international trade in the last two years in an unprecedented manner, have been of particular concern and interest as a complex phenomenon, affecting ports and maritime networks, and impacting global connectivity with different degrees of severity. The study “Ocean container network dynamics during the COVID-19 pandemic” uses ship position and other ship-specific data and shows that disruptions resulting from the pandemic have rippled, also investigating operator’s behaviors under distress. If that global maritime networks have shown a remarkable degree of resilience that has allowed international trade to carry, the network dynamics should be further studied to respond better to future disruptions.
By a systematic and critical review, in the chapter “Shipping network analysis: state-of-the-art and application to the global financial crisis” César Ducruet reveals a recent surge of interest from scholars for the shipping networks, with studies focus in particular on topology, from a complex network perspective, while extremely diverse in terms of disciplinary background, research themes, and analytical methods. Despite the important share of journals related with geography, economics, and management, the analysis of shipping networks remains in isolation from major environmental, territorial, and industry issues.
Index of contents
César Ducruet and Theo Notteboom
PART I – THE CONCEPT OF PORT SYSTEM
Chapter 1: A systematic and critical review of port system research
César Ducruet and Theo Notteboom
Chapter 2: Evolutionary models of port system development–an application to the Latin American and Caribbean port system
Jason Monios and Gordon Wilmsmeier
Chapter 3: Winding paths through urban systems and urban networks
Benjamin J. Preis
Chapter 4: The implications of duality of trans(port) systems: evidence from Wusongkou International Cruise Port
James J. Wang, Adolf K.Y. Ng, and Joseph Lau
PART II – THE DYNAMICS OF PORT SYSTEMS
Chapter 5: The European ports’ size dynamics and hierarchies
Rania Tassadit Dial, Gabriel Figueiredo De Oliveira, and Alexandra Schaffar
Chapter 6: Port migration patterns in the global port system since the 1950s
César Ducruet, Theo Notteboom, and Brian Slack
Chapter 7: Port competition in contestable hinterlands: The case of preferential relationships and barrier effects in Central Europe
David Guerrero and Jean-Claude Thill
Chapter 8: Global cities and global logistics
PART III – COLLABORATIVE PORT SYSTEMS
Chapter 9: Port authority mergers in port systems: The path to ‘North Sea Port’ and ‘Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ in Flanders
Chapter 10: Co-operation and competition between container shipping networks and their impact on container hub ports in Southeast Asia
Wei Yim Yap
Chapter 11: Port collaboration in the Greater Bay Area: reality, challenge and opportunity
Dong Yang, Yang Chen, and Qiang Zhang
Chapter 12: The emergence of polycentric port regions. The case of ARA and the US Gulf Coast
Karel Van den Berghe, Antoine Peris, and Wouter Jacobs
PART IV – PORT SYSTEMS AS SHIPPING NETWORKS
Chapter 13: Discovering shipping networks from raw vessel movements
Alexandros-Nikolaos Troupiotis-Kapeliaris, Giannis Spiliopoulous, Marios Vodas, and Dimitris Zissis
Chapter 14: Ocean container network dynamics during the Covid-19 pandemic
Christopher Dirzka and Michele Acciaro
Chapter 15: Shipping network analysis: state-of-the-art and application to the global financial crisis
Ducruet C., Notteboom T. (Eds.)
Port Systems in Global Competition.
Spatial-Economic Perspectives on the Co-Development of Seaports
Publisher: Routledge, August 2023
ISBN: 978-1032327730 (print version)
ISBN: 978-1003316657 (digital version)
Geographer, is Senior Researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). He is currently working at the EconomiX laboratory (Paris-Nanterre) on the local impact of contemporary maritime globalization. His research focuses on technological innovation, connectivity, employment, vulnerability, environment, and health issues in a port and port-city context. He is Principal Investigator of the ANR-funded research project “Maritime Globalization, Network Externalities and Transport Impacts on Cities” (MAGNETICS) (2023–2026). César has been expert for various international organizations (OECD, World Bank, WHO) and works regularly with numerous partners in Asia (Korea Maritime Institute, JETRO, ASEM, Chinese Academy of Sciences, ECNU, Fudan University, Shanghai Maritime University). His publications include two edited volumes on Maritime Networks (2015) and Shipping Data Analysis (2017) in the Routledge Studies in Transport Analysis. He is also associate member of porteconomics.eu, scientific board member of SFLOG, GIS Axe Seine, GDR OMER, RETE Association, international advisory board member of PortCityFutures, and editorial board member of the Journal of Transport Geography, Maritime Business Review, the International Journal of Transport Economics, and Portus.
Professor of port and maritime economics, he is Chair Professor ‘North Sea Port’ at Maritime Institute of Ghent University, and a professor at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Antwerp and Antwerp Maritime Academy. He previously held positions as Professor and Foreign Expert at universities in Dalian and Shanghai, China, and as MPA Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is Vice-President (2022-ongoing) and past President (2010–2014) of International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME). He is Co-founder and Co-director of Porteconomics.eu and Member of the Risk and Resilience Committee of International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). He is Associate Editor of Maritime Economics & Logistics and a member of the editorial boards of eight other leading academic journals in the field. He published over 160 papers in first-tier academic journals and another 400 publications in the form of reports and contributions to books, proceedings, and specialized press. He is Editor/Author of a dozen of academic books, including the handbook Port Economics, Management and Policy (Notteboom, Pallis & Rodrigue, 2022; Routledge). He is one of the most cited maritime economists in the world. Theo Notteboom has been involved as promoter or co-promoter in more than 100 academic research programs on the port and maritime industry and logistics topics.