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The Impact of Port Characteristics on International Maritime Transport Costs

  • Wilmsmeier, Gordon
  • Hoffmann, Jan
  • Sanchez, Ricardo J.

The chapter provides empirical evidence that indicators for different port characteristics have a statistically significant and strong impact on international maritime transport costs. It reports on empirical work on trade among 16 Latin-American countries. The database incorporates 75,928 observations, which comprise practically all maritime trade transactions in containerizable goods on most intra-Latin-American trade routes for the year 2002. The regressions incorporate the main classical explanatory variables of maritime transport costs, such as unit cargo value, volume per transaction, geographical distance, bilateral trade volume, and trade balances. It further looks at six indicators for different port characteristics as possible additional determinants of international transport costs. It is found that indicators for port efficiency, port infrastructure, private sector participation, and inter-port connectivity have significant impacts on international maritime transport costs. The estimated elasticity for port efficiency is the highest of all port-related variables; doubling port efficiency in a pair of ports has the same impact on international transport costs as halving the distance between them would have.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research in Transportation Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 117-140

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Handle: RePEc:eee:retrec:v:16:y:2006:i:1:p:117-140
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  1. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  2. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hummels, David, 1999. "Toward a Geography of Trade Costs," GTAP Working Papers 1162, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  4. Wilson,John S. & Mann, Catherine L. & Otsuki, Tsunehiro, 2003. "Trade facilitation and economic development : measuring the impact," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2988, The World Bank.
  5. Beatrice Tovar & Sergio Jara-Diaz & Lourdes Trujillo, 2003. "Production and cost functions and their application to the port sector : a literature survey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3123, The World Bank.
  6. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Peter de Langen, 2004. "Governance in Seaport Clusters," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 6(2), pages 141-156, June.
  8. Kevin Cullinane & Dong-Wook Song, 2002. "Port privatization policy and practice," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 55-75, January.
  9. Jan Hoffmann, 2001. "Latin American Ports: Results and Determinants of Private Sector Participation," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 3(2), pages 221-241, June.
  10. Bichou, K. & Gray, R., 2005. "A critical review of conventional terminology for classifying seaports," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 75-92, January.
  11. Ricardo J Sánchez & Jan Hoffmann & Alejandro Micco & Georgina V Pizzolitto & Martín Sgut & Gordon Wilmsmeier, 2003. "Port Efficiency and International Trade: Port Efficiency as a Determinant of Maritime Transport Costs," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 5(2), pages 199-218, June.
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