Elsayeh, Mohi-Eldin, Hubbard, Nick J. and Tipi, Nicoleta S. (2011) An Assessment of hub-ports competitiveness and its impact on the Mediterranean container market structure. In: Proceedings of the 16th Annual Logistics Research Network Conference 2011. Transportation Research Group, Southampton.

Globalisation and the development of the international transport network have increased the role of
ports as nodes in the global logistics and supply chain systems. Meanwhile, seaports encounter great
challenges, uncertainties and risks than ever before. The development of different markets has
contributed to intensifying competition in the port industry (Haezendonck & Notteboom, 2002). The
reform of liner shipping service networks as well as the increased bargaining power of the shipping
lines, has contributed to the deterioration of existing ports and to the development of new ones which,
in turn, causes change in market structure and port hierarchy.
Container ports, in particular, have not only encountered competition from the large load centers in the
same port range but also from the medium and small load centers having the same hinterland and, to
some extent, from load centers in other port ranges. The hub-and-spoke system that has emerged in
liner shipping operation patterns has increased pressure on the supply chain network around load
centers. Thus, the concept of containerisation has enlarged the geographical coverage of seaports to
the extent that the concept of a captive market is no longer valid. The aim of this paper is to assess
the competitiveness level of hub-ports and to analyse the impact of inter-port competition on the
Mediterranean container market structure. In doing so, the research is divided into five sections. The
first section comprises a general introduction that includes research aims and the research plan. The
second section reviews the literature related to port competition and the methodologies being used to
assess ports’ competitiveness. The third section demonstrates the area of study, research problem
and methodologies used to measure the impact of port competitiveness on the Mediterranean port
market structure. The fourth section assesses the competitiveness of hub-ports in the Mediterranean
container market. The last section introduces a comprehensive conclusion for the research outcomes.

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