Governance mode for port congestion mitigation: A transaction cost perspective

  • Naima SaeedEmail author
  • Dong-Wook Song
  • Otto Andersen


Transaction cost analysis (TCA) has been applied in a wide range of academic disciplines, including economics, marketing, sociology, organization theory, and business strategy. Literature in maritime transport has had limited exposure to this versatile theoretical framework. This paper aims at developing a conceptual model that describes governance strategies that various players within the maritime sector can adopt to mitigate congestion at ports. A TCA is used to examine port congestion mitigation from a governance perspective. A theoretical analysis conducted for this paper reveals that the three characteristics of TCA – asset specificity, frequency, and uncertainty – prevail in the maritime sector, too. The first two factors, frequency, and uncertainty, contribute to port congestion, while the third factor, asset specificity, exists because to release port congestion, some players ought to make a specific investment. We use TCA to discuss the circumstances under which governance modes such as bilateral governance and vertical integration should be used to avoid congestion and other kinds of transaction costs associated with these three attributes in the maritime sector. In this study, we suggested several testable propositions to identify the mode of governance that should be selected by stakeholders to mitigate port congestion and to protect specific investments made to release congestion at ports. This line of analysis will certainly provide all the stakeholders engaged (particularly, a public policymaker) useful insight into understanding congestion from a governance perspective.


Port congestion Transaction cost analysis Governance mode Asset specificity Environmental uncertainty 


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The authors are indebted to the four anonymous referees of NETNOMICS for productive comments that led to improvements in this paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management, School of Business and LawUniversity of AgderKristiansandNorway
  2. 2.Shipping and Port ManagementWorld Maritime UniversityMalmoSweden

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