Ports in the United States
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An important focal point in the study of port management in various North American ports was the widespread conviction that the United States would be at the forefront of privatisation trends. After all, President Reagan, together with Mrs Thatcher, had achieved worldwide notoriety in the early eighties with his ‘New Federalism’ and the ‘cut backs’ in numerous federal activities. It must be said, however, that port management in the United States is traditionally a local or regional matter on which the federal government can exert influence ‘merely’ in a conditioning sense through e.g. the construction and maintenance of waterways and means of navigation or by the creation of fiscal facilities. In the ports studied, there was frequently no trace of extensive privatisation initiated at the federal level. The regional or local involvement in port management has also ensured that some ports, e.g. New York, have had a high level of private input for years, while others still very much retain the public character of port management (for instance Seattle).
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