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Port competition through hinterland accessibility: the case of Spain

Author

Listed:
  • Lorena Garcia-Alonso

    () (University of Oviedo)

  • Jason Monios

    (Kedge Business School)

  • José Ángel Vallejo-Pinto

    (University of Oviedo)

Abstract

While immediate port hinterlands remain relatively captive, distant hinterlands are fiercely contested. Where road is the dominant mode, transport costs are a function of distance which is therefore often the key determinant of port choice. Where distance is sufficiently long to enable rail to compete, other factors become important, such as terminal availability and frequency of rail services. Many ports are increasing the use of rail transport to ease port congestion, reduce transport costs or decrease environmental externalities. The question this paper poses is to what extent has the development of inland terminals and container rail shuttles influenced the ability of Spanish ports to compete for distant hinterlands? The paper analyses competition between three major container ports in Spain: Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. We use GIS to produce a set of maps which identify relationships between the locations of the main logistics platforms, the configuration of the terrestrial transport infrastructure and the provincial origin/destination of the maritime container traffic and its inter-port distribution from 2008 to 2013. We use longitudinal data on port shipments from inland regions to investigate the changing spatial distribution of port hinterlands and then we map these changes against road and rail traffic flows, in order to explore if a correlation exists between the market share of ports in contestable hinterlands and the use of rail shuttles to key inland terminals. We find that while some inland terminals have been successful in consolidating traffic on rail services, ports (e.g. Valencia) have been able to capture distant hinterlands even with a low usage of rail. This suggests that the use of rail is not the key driver behind successful capture of distant markets, but rather distance remains the primary determinant of port choice. In future, the port of Valencia should seek to increase its growth volumes in areas where its traffic is currently less concentrated, around rail terminals.

Suggested Citation

  • Lorena Garcia-Alonso & Jason Monios & José Ángel Vallejo-Pinto, 2019. "Port competition through hinterland accessibility: the case of Spain," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 21(2), pages 258-277, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:marecl:v:21:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1057_s41278-017-0085-5
    DOI: 10.1057/s41278-017-0085-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Behzad Behdani & Bart Wiegmans & Violeta Roso & Hercules Haralambides, 2020. "Port-hinterland transport and logistics: emerging trends and frontier research," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 22(1), pages 1-25, March.
    2. Martínez-Pardo, Ana & Orro, Alfonso & Garcia-Alonso, Lorena, 2020. "Analysis of port choice: A methodological proposal adjusted with public data," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 178-193.

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