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A critical review of conventional terminology for classifying seaports


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  • Bichou, K.
  • Gray, R.
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    Seaports are complex and dynamic entities, often dissimilar from each other, where various activities are carried out by and for the account of different actors and organisations. Such a multifaceted situation has led to a variety of operational, organisational and strategic management approaches to port systems. It is noticeable in the current body of port literature that the conceptualisation of the port business has taken place at different disciplinary levels without producing a comprehensive and structured port management discipline. Much of the current literature on ports has been developed by international organisations and institutions in the field (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Bank Group, etc.) and a resulting terminology has evolved depicting specific concepts hardly understood by professionals and academics outside the field. On the other hand, many areas of port operations and management still remain unexplored, and there are few academic references outlining the different features of operational and strategic management in ports. This paper examines the validity of the conventional terminology for classifying ports, questioning the assumption that ports should be conceptualised as separate markets and distinct operational and business ventures. It seeks to demonstrate that in today's inter-related global markets and businesses with integrated logistics and supply chain flows, there is less of a case for the traditionally isolated and restricted port terminology.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 75-92

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:39:y:2005:i:1:p:75-92

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    1. Sidney Gilman, 2003. "Sustainability and national policy in UK port development," Maritime Policy & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 275-291, October.
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    11. Cullinane, Kevin & Song, Dong-Wook & Gray, Richard, 2002. "A stochastic frontier model of the efficiency of major container terminals in Asia: assessing the influence of administrative and ownership structures," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 743-762, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Vítor Caldeirinha & J. Augusto Felício & Andreia Dionísio, 2013. "The container terminal characteristics and customer’s satisfaction," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2013_14, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).
    2. Romeo Danielis & Romeo Danielis, 2012. "An input-output based methodology to estimate the economic role of a port: the case of the port system of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy," Working Papers 1202, SIET Società Italiana di Economia dei Trasporti e della Logistica, revised 2012.
    3. Sanchez Rodrigues, Vasco & Beresford, Anthony & Pettit, Stephen & Bhattacharya, Syamantak & Harris, Irina, 2014. "Assessing the cost and CO2e impacts of rerouteing UK import containers," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 53-67.
    4. Castillo-Manzano, José I. & López-Valpuesta, Lourdes & Pérez, Javier J., 2008. "Economic analysis of the Spanish port sector reform during the 1990s," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1056-1063, October.
    5. Monios, Jason & Wilmsmeier, Gordon, 2012. "Giving a direction to port regionalisation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1551-1561.
    6. Yeo, Gi-Tae & Roe, Michael & Dinwoodie, John, 2008. "Evaluating the competitiveness of container ports in Korea and China," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 910-921, July.
    7. Monios, Jason & Wilmsmeier, Gordon, 2013. "The role of intermodal transport in port regionalisation," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 161-172.
    8. Wilmsmeier, Gordon & Sanchez, Ricardo J., 2009. "The relevance of international transport costs on food prices: Endogenous and exogenous effects," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 56-66.


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