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The Time Scale of Internationalisation: The Case of the Container Port Industry


  • Daniel Olivier

    () (Transport Canada, Strategic Policy, 330 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5, Canada.)

  • Francesco Parola

    () (Department of Business Studies and Italian Centre of Excellence for Integrated Logistics, University of Genoa, Via Vivaldi 5, 16126, Genoa, Italy.)

  • Brian Slack

    () (Department of Geography, Concordia University, 1400 de Maisonneuve W., Montreal, QC H3G 1M8 Canada.)

  • James J Wang

    () (University of Hong Kong, Department of Geography, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR.)


Institutional change of the 1990s in port sectors worldwide has been followed by the emergence of port investing/operating transnational corporations (TNCs). Yet the supply of investment opportunities may be diminishing and evidence suggests the investment time window is closing. Timing thus becomes a critical component of the internationalisation process of firms. This paper focuses on temporal aspects of internationalisation. It puts immediate emphasis on Asian TNCs since – as latecomers – they have grown to dominate the industry. We perform a longitudinal analysis of TNC behaviour in relation to changes in domestic and foreign market conditions. Constraints of an institutional nature facing TNC entry in foreign markets are forcing firms to ‘leapfrog’ some of the logical sequential phases of internationalisation often assumed by mainstream theory. The degree of openness of foreign markets still largely dictates both opportunities and modalities of private entry. Findings suggest that institutional conditions determine to a large extent what strategic choices may be possible in any given context. Maritime Economics & Logistics (2007) 9, 1–34. doi:10.1057/palgrave.mel.9100169

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Olivier & Francesco Parola & Brian Slack & James J Wang, 2007. "The Time Scale of Internationalisation: The Case of the Container Port Industry," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 9(1), pages 1-34, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:marecl:v:9:y:2007:i:1:p:1-34

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    Cited by:

    1. Kaselimi, Evangelia N. & Notteboom, Theo E. & Pallis, Athanasios A. & Farrell, Sheila, 2011. "Minimum Efficient Scale (MES) and preferred scale of container terminals," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 71-80.
    2. Panayides, Photis M. & Parola, Francesco & Lam, Jasmine Siu Lee, 2015. "The effect of institutional factors on public–private partnership success in ports," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 110-127.
    3. repec:eee:transa:v:103:y:2017:i:c:p:135-153 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pallis, Athanasios A. & de Langen, Peter W., 2010. "Seaports and the structural implications of the economic crisis," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 10-18.
    5. van Asperen, E. & Dekker, R., 2010. "Flexibility in Port Selection: A Quantitative Approach Using Floating Stocks," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2009-44, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
    6. Satta, Giovanni & Parola, Francesco & Persico, Luca, 2014. "Temporal and Spatial Constructs in Service Firms' Internationalization Patterns: The Determinants of the Accelerated Growth of Emerging MNEs," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 421-435.

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