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Competitive Global Ports for Regional Economic Development: The Port of Valencia

Face to high unemployment and GDP stagnation, competitive ports bear potential positive impacts on regional economic development over their hinterland. Ports are conceived as nodes in global supply chains basing their competitiveness in deriving location, infrastructure, connectivity and supply chain integration advantages for logistics operators.

In the current global logistics scenario, port oversupply has increased competition, and global shipping companies are increasingly influential in inserting ports into international maritime routes. This qualitative case study is a pragmatic research, making use of both new institutional economics to grasp the economic behaviour of port stakeholders, and the structure of provision approach to guide an institutional analysis on how the attributes of the Port of Valencia provide global shipping companies with competitive advantages.

Institutions turn to be relevant in generating advantages such as a privileged connectivity to the centre of the peninsula, an outperforming integrated electronic information interchange system among all members of the port community, or the port authority’s valuable coordination, promotion and leadership of initiatives boosting logistics operators’ competitiveness.

Port institutions have also shaped competitive disadvantages, namely the elevated cost of stowage, towage services, some taxes or low productivity of some terminals. The analysis of these findings grounds a discussion on possible adjustments of the port institutional attributes to strengthen the competitive advantages offered to global shipping companies, thus contributing to the regional economic development of the port hinterland. The paper concludes with some challenges for the future and further research tracks.
Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Author: Brox, Mario Sánchez

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