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Authors

Theo Notteboom

Document Type

Article Restricted

Publication Date

2010

Journal Title

Journal of Transport Geography

Volume Number

18

First Page

567

Last Page

583

Abstract

The European container port system features a unique blend of different port types and sizes combined with a vast economic hinterland. This paper provides an update of the detailed container traffic analysis developed by Notteboom (1997) by extending it to the period 1985–2008 and to 78 container ports. The paper also aims at identifying key trends and issues underlying recent developments in the European container port system. These trends include the formation of multi-port gateway regions, changes in the hinterland orientation of ports and port regionalization processes. While the local hinterland remains the backbone of ports’ traffic positions, a growing demand for routing flexibility fuels competition for dis- tant hinterlands between multi-port gateway regions. The prevailing assumption that containerisation would lead to further port concentration is not a confirmed fact in Europe: the European port system and most of its multi-port gateway regions witness a gradual cargo deconcentration process. Still, the container handling market remains far more concentrated than other cargo handling segments in the European port system, as there are strong market-related factors supporting a relatively high cargo con- centration level in the container sector

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