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Explaining Port Size: Accessibility, Hinterland Competition and a Semi-Endogenously Determined W

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  • Thomas Vanoutrive


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    There is an ongoing debate on the concentration of container throughput in the European container port system. A particular feature is the dominant position of ports located in the Hamburg-Le Havre range. Some proponents of southern European ports argue that a shift in port traffic from the north to the south would be beneficial for the environment and the economy. Furthermore, some argue that concentration of ports might increase regional inequalities in Europe. For instance, the European White Paper on Transport argues that more entry points into European markets are needed on the coasts. In our paper we apply and compare several hinterland accessibility indices to explain the relative size of port regions. Besides standard measures that combine the size of hinterland regions with a distance decay function, we check whether the incorporation of the density of hinterland activities leads to better performing measures. As indicated in the literature, port size is strongly related to hinterland accessibility. The accessibility measures also allow to estimate hinterland overlap between ports which is relevant from a port competition perspective. These figures can also be employed to check the usefulness of commonly applied delimitations of port ranges and port regions like the Rhine-Scheldt Delta and the Hamburg-Le Havre range. To evaluate the robustness of the current distribution of port activities in Europe we investigate what the effect would be of changes in parameter values in the accessibility function and of policies that penalise north-western European ports. We conclude that major changes in the general port layout of Europe are not to be expected. Key words: accessibility, port, hinterland, Europe JEL codes: R12, R40

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    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa12p668.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2012
    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa12p668
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    1. Hyunwoo Lim & Jean-Claude Thill, 2008. "Intermodal freight transportation and regional accessibility in the United States," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 40(8), pages 2006-2025, August.
    2. Martijn Burger & Frank van Oort & Gert-Jan Linders, 2009. "On the Specification of the Gravity Model of Trade: Zeros, Excess Zeros and Zero-inflated Estimation," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 167-190.
    3. Shunfeng Song, 1996. "Some Tests of Alternative Accessibility Measures: A Population Density Approach," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(4), pages 474-482.
    4. H. Meersman & E. Van De Voorde & T. Vanelslander, 2010. "Port Competition Revisited," Review of Business and Economic Literature, Intersentia, vol. 55(2), pages 210-233, June.
    5. Luisa Corrado & Bernard Fingleton, 2012. "Where Is The Economics In Spatial Econometrics?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 210-239, 05.
    6. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    7. T. Heaver & H. Meersman & E. Van De Voorde, 2001. "Co-operation and competition in international container transport: strategies for ports," Maritime Policy & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 293-305, July.
    8. Theo E Notteboom, 2009. "Complementarity and substitutability among adjacent gateway ports," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 41(3), pages 743-762, March.
    9. Lata Chatterjee & T.R. Lakshmanan, 2008. "Intermodal Freight Transport in the United States," Chapters,in: The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. repec:sen:rebelj:v:lv:y:2010:i:2:p:210-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Theo E. Notteboom * & Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2005. "Port regionalization: towards a new phase in port development," Maritime Policy & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 297-313, July.
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