RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014

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299 Between path dependency and contingency: new challenges for the geography of port system evolution (1)
Affiliation Transport Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Jason Monios (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
Gordon Wilmsmeier (UN-ECLAC, Chile)
Chair(s) Gordon Wilmsmeier (UN-ECLAC, Chile)
Timetable Friday 29 August 2014, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room RGS-IBG Tea Room
Session abstract Port development is path dependent to the extent that future action is reliant on past decisions, structures, processes and institutional contexts, but it is also contingent and open-ended as decisions may deviate from an existing development path. Numerous factors influence which path a port follows, but isolating the effects of individual influences is difficult in such a multifaceted and interdependent system. The majority of studies have focused on the temporal dimension of path dependency and contingency while giving less consideration to the spatial dimension. Studies of the geography of port system evolution have revealed trends of concentration and deconcentration as well as centralisation and decentralisation, each influenced by factors such as technological change in the maritime and port industry and port devolution processes in addition to vertical integration and competition strategies in the maritime industry. Moreover, a port system might evolve in a reactive manner to such forces but can equally change as a result of proactive strategies of various stakeholders. Arguably the most difficult aspect of port planning, however, is recognising and dimensioning (spatial and temporal) new challenges yet to be faced.
Linked Sessions Between path dependency and contingency: new challenges for the geography of port system evolution (2)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2014@rgs.org
Port adaptation and co-evolution in light of changing organizational routines in liner shipping: the case of the Rhine-Scheldt Delta port system
Theo Notteboom (Institute of Transport & Maritime Management Antwerp / University of Antwerp, Belgium)
This paper seeks to examine in which ways the changing organizational routines of shipping lines are affecting intra-port and inter-port development paths within multi-port gateway regions (see Notteboom, 2010 for terminology). More in particular the research will unravel the adaptive mechanisms and strategies followed by individual ports and broader port systems to cope with the changing liner shipping environment. We also analyse the relative interdependence and co-evolution among the development paths of individual ports of the same multi-port gateway region in this regard. To do so, we extend the framework presented by Jacobs and Notteboom (2011) by explicitly integrating the interplay between changes in the organizational routines of shipping lines (trigger), changes in the organizational routines of terminal operators (trigger and or reactive adaptation depending on direct carrier involvement in terminal operations) and changes in the institutional setting and behavior of the respective port authorities (adaptation). The adaptation of terminal operators and port authorities to liner shipping dynamics can manifest itself via the re-allocation of port land (e.g. swaps in land concessions), changes in pricing policy, horizontal and vertical collaboration and the extension or adaptation of the port hardware (i.e. infrastructure and superstructure).
Regional integration through maritime flows? The case of the Maghreb port system
Fatima Zohra Mohamed-Cherif (National School of Maritimes Studies, Algeria)
César Ducruet (French National Centre for Scientific Research, France)
A port system or maritime range is generally understood as a set of adjacent ports sharing common features such as hinterland and maritime flows (Vigarié, 1964; Lemarchand and Joly, 2009). The Maghreb is, still nowadays, characterised by limited transport connectivity and trade exchanges among its neighbor countries, namely Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia (Figure 1). An analysis of container vessel movements among Maghreb ports in recent decades shows a growing multiplication of intra-regional maritime connections (Figure 2), in parallel with growing extra-regional connections. Is this phenomenon exogenous to the region, i.e. purely explained by carrier decisions and network effects of liner service design, or does it illustrate more endogenous trends, such as the emergence of regional integration? A review of recent port-related projects and developments provides part of the explanation, such as the new role of Tangier-Med in ensuring hub functions in the region and polarizing several Maghreb secondary ports. However, this factor is insufficient given the fact that linkages have began to multiply even before Tangier-Med was fully operational. More likely is the self-organizing power of a regional entity where ports palliate landside blockades, as seen previously in the case of growing North-South shipping connectivity across the Korean peninsula (Ducruet, 2008), despite limited trade volumes and geopolitical tensions. Whether this trend is peripheral in scale and scope and/or will be reinforced in the future is also discussed in the light of ongoing efforts to create an Euro-Mediterranean area in this region. Lastly, the analysis is also extended to other types of vessels, such as bulks and passengers.
Rethinking maritime regions in globalization
Nora Marei (French National Centre for Scientific Research, France)
In maritime literature, most studies of port systems are focused on the national level and present a continental view. Few studies have documented the evolution of port and maritime linkages across a whole maritime basin. So, the concept of maritime regions remains little explored in port and maritime geography. This contribution, based on research conducted within the ERC World Seastems project, discusses the specificity of the Mediterranean basin compared with other intermediate maritime regions located along the equatorial round-the-world route (Caribbean basin, East and Southeast Asia), in terms of network configuration and port hierarchies.

By analyzing quantitative data (vessel movements, port statistics) over the period 1890-2011, we map and analyse shipping flows in the Mediterranean basin and in the other maritime regions. The comparative approach aims to highlight specific characteristics of the Mediterranean region and helps to understand how flows organize these basins. The main results are confronted to more qualitative information at local level. By confronting global and local dynamics in the formation of port networks in a maritime region, the study helps to define the Mediterranean as an intermediate model, between a more dispersed Caribbean basin and a more polarized East Asia. Finally, this paper proposes a conceptual and methodological contribution to a better understanding of the "maritime region" in a context of port system reorganization.
Emerging port and hinterland connections in northern Europe in view of arctic ice melting
Ioanna Kourounioti (University of the Aegean, Greece)
Paraskevi Baxevani (University of the Aegean, Greece)
Amalia Polydoropoulou (University of the Aegean, Greece)
Petros Sioussiouras (University of the Aegean, Greece)
Traditionally, some of the major gateways for Asian cargo heading to European markets are found in the Mediterranean. Climate change and sea ice melting, has spurred vivid debates on the possibility of using new arctic routes which are becoming increasingly accessible with the first ships having already crossed the Arctic Ocean. Regional states have vested interests in financing port and hinterland infrastructure aimed at facilitating trade and transport. Such a cargo shift would result in avoiding chokepoints and use of alternative connections. The paper in question aims at making an estimation of the advancements’ effects in the northern European ports compared to the more traditional routes passing through the Mediterranean. More specifically, there will be an attempt to estimate the financial benefits equilibrium. To this aim SWOT analysis will be used to contrast and highlight possible profits and constraints. We will focus on the emerging ports, their capacity and rail or road connections, connecting them to the rest of Europe. Even though arctic shipping is not expecting to place among principal routes in the short-term, there is no doubt that we are in view of significant changes in the northern hemisphere. A first approach of the port evolution is ventured, in an area expected to have a strong presence in the years to come due to the intertwined environmental, geopolitical and economic coefficients of the Arctic equation.