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Journal of Transport Geography
Abstract Port reforms around the world have opened regional container port terminal markets. The emergence of a wide array of global terminal operators has led to a differentiation in entry strategies driven by their respective objectives and by factors exogenous to the firm. This paper looks at antecedent factors that play a role in a company’s entry strategy in a public–private partnership (PPP) setting by performing binomial logistic regression on a large sample of container terminal deals over the period 2002–2010. More specifically, it analyses to what extent firm-specific, external, project and cross-cultural factors play a decisive role in the choice between direct PPPs (i.e. stepping into a new PPP arrangement such as a new concession agreement) and indirect PPPs (i.e. stepping into an existing PPP arrangement through acquisitions). The empirical findings demonstrate the pivotal role of some firm specific characteristics (market experience and business model), external factors (host country development and market openness, government effectiveness, market concentration degree, and market saturation) and project-related factors (project size, number of partners involved, and equity joint venture with the Port Authority), also unveiling some preliminary results in relation to cross-cultural variables.