Port Investment and Container Shipping Markets

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Large-scale port projects have irreversible effects on land use and multiple impacts on the local economy and local community. They affect the way that the regional and national economy operates as a whole, with major impacts on regional transport systems. Port planners make better decisions when these broad impacts are examined as part of the development of a national freight transport and logistics strategy. Private investment in port terminals is also facilitated by the certainty engendered by development of a national freight transport and logistics strategy.

This report examines the issues that need to be considered before the decision to proceed to costly expansions with long-life spans and a structural influence on the local and national economy. The report benefits from a case study of Chile, where plans for a major expansion of port capacity in the central part of the country are well advanced. Chile provides the detail for an examination of factors critical to decisions on container port investments anywhere: demand forecasts, change in liner shipping markets, hinterland transport capacity, competition between container terminals, and the framework for financing of investment.

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Puerto de Gran Escala (PGE)

International Transport Forum

The Government of Chile is developing a national ports development plan. The plan is outlined in this paper and its implications for strategic development of hinterland transport infrastructure capacity are discussed. The paper reviews port capacity and sets out the legal framework for competition between port terminal concessions and the assignment of responsibilities between port authorities and terminal concession holders for investment in new facilities. Forecast demand is compared with projected container terminal capacity and plans for development of a new large container port development, a Puerto de Gran Escala (PGE), are outlined.

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