Regional Effects of Port Infrastructure: A Spatial CGE Application to Brazil
This article attempts to elucidate one of the mechanisms that link trade barriers, in the form of port costs, and subsequent growth and regional inequality. Prior attention has focused on inland or link costs, but port costs can be considered as a further barrier to enhancing trade liberalization and growth. In contrast to a highway link, congestion at a port may have severe impacts that are spread over space and time whereas highway link congestion may be resolved within several hours. Since a port is part of the transportation network, any congestion/ disruption is likely to ripple throughout the hinterland. In this sense, it is important to model properly the role nodal components play in the context of spatial models and international trade. In this article, a spatial computable general equilibrium (CGE) model that is integrated to a transport network system is presented to simulate the impacts of increases in port efficiency in Brazil. The role of ports of entry and ports of exit are explicitly considered to grasp the holistic picture in an integrated interregional system. Measures of efficiency for different port locations are incorporated in the calibration of the model and used as the benchmark in our simulations. Three scenarios are evaluated: (1) an overall increase in port efficiency in Brazil to achieve international standards; (2) efficiency gains associated with decentralization in port management in Brazil; and (3) regionally differentiated increases in port efficiency to reach the boundary of the national efficiency frontier.
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