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Port Competition and Hinterland Connections

image of Port Competition and Hinterland Connections
This Round Table publication discusses the policy and regulatory challenges posed by the rapidly changing port environment. The sector has changed tremendously in recent decades with technological and organisational innovation and a powerful expansion of trade. Although ports serve hinterlands that now run deep into continents, competition among ports is increasingly intense and their bargaining power in the supply chain has consequently weakened. Greater port throughput is meeting with increasing resistance from local communities because of pollution and congestion. In addition, local regulation is warranted but made difficult by the distribution of bargaining power among stakeholders. Higher-level authorities could develop more effective policies.

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Summary of discussions

International Transport Forum

Maritime freight transport has experienced strong growth and profound change over recent decades. Freight volumes and container traffic in particular have grown with the intensification of global trade and the geographical dispersion of production. The industrial organization of the sector has evolved rapidly. These changes have rendered the ports business environment more challenging. Many agents along the supply chain have engaged in horizontal and vertical integration of activities. This has lead to more efficiency in the movement of cargo, but has reduced the number of players, with an attendant risk of abuse of market power. The market power of the ports vis-à-vis shippers and shipping companies has become correspondingly weaker.

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