Contextual Port Development: A Theoretical Approach

  • Ricardo J. Sánchez
  • Gordon Wilmsmeier
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


Ports play a critical role as gateways and facilitators of trade. In the last 20 years, ports have undergone an intensive evolution in trying to adapt to a changing environment (change in demand, etc.). The results and models from this evolution process vary by regions and economic contexts, particularly in developing countries. While ports have developed in scale and have consequently taken on the challenges of growing trade flows, access infrastructure to ports or port delivery corridors and institutional developments have lagged behind. The resulting bottlenecks in some way reflect deficits and insufficiencies in the interplay of the economic system and factors defining port development: transport demand, the structure of trade, transport services, institutional capacities etc. A time lag in the resolving of infrastructural bottlenecks, which to a great extent depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of institutions, can cause significant impacts for regional economies. The probability of time lags is especially prevalent in the interaction between the port and the maritime system as the port system has longer, ‘discrete’ development cycles in comparison to the maritime system. This chapter investigates and evaluates port development as the consequence (result) of the interaction of three systems: the economic system, the maritime system, and the port system; and develops a relational approach to port development.


Port System Product Life Cycle Transport Service Discrete Manner Port Authority 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)SantiagoChile
  2. 2.Transport Research Institute (TRI)Edinburgh Napier UniversityEdinburghUK

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