Ports and Economic Impact: main changes, assessment approaches and distribution disequilibrium
It is nowadays widely accepted that the positive economic impact of ports tends to move away from a local environment (the earlier 'port city') to a much wider and often international one, including the consignors/consignees. It is thus the purpose of this paper to take a fresh look at the current changes in a ports1 production junction, based on a territorial cost-benefit analysis, i.e. taking into account that: - The port industry is no longer a labour intensive one; - The port industry is becoming more capital deepening, but, given the functioning of international capital markets, the relevant payback does not necessarily spill over within the port region; - Due to horizontal and vertical integration strategies, international groups often own firms which run terminals and port activities and local economies are no longer among the location selection criteria of holdings, corporations and administrative departments; - Port development requires increasingly more space, which is a local factor, but land allocated to port activities seems to be paid less than its opportunity cost; - On the other hand, ports still *remain important from a national perspective: they generate taxes and duties and they often constitute growth poles for national industries and services; - Finally, the costs suffered by local economies are getting higher and higher in terms of land consumption, coast waste, environmental problems and traffic congestion. The existence of a disequilibrium in the territorial distribution of ports wealth is thus quite evident. Port Impact Studies are powerful tools for assessing port impact, although there is an open debate on their main goals, on the different methodological approaches and on their role in port planning. Finally the paper attempts to formulate some suggestions for a sustainable and efficient European port scenario.
European Transport / Trasporti Europei
VII (2001) 17
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
ISTIEE Istituto per lo studio dei trasporti nell’integrazione economica
Marco Benacchio, Enrico Musso, "Ports and Economic Impact: main changes, assessment approaches and distribution disequilibrium", in: European Transport / Trasporti Europei, VII (2001) 17, pp. 25-36