International Encyclopedia of Transportation
The traditional notion of a hinterland refers to the inland economic area influenced by ports. In other words, the hinterland represents the set of points of origin/destination of cargo flows, which pass through the port and generate the majority of its business. Following logistics and market transformations, the concept of the hinterland has become rather dynamic and the traditional static approach may be misleading. In particular, it appears rather complex to identify a hinterland's boundaries, due to the influence of drivers that are constantly evolving. Notably, shipping lines, terminal operators, and other logistics players hold a pivotal role in shaping port hinterland development. The ability of port authorities (PAs) to cooperate with the actors of the maritime cluster, as well as inland terminals, seems to be fundamental to extending the network and to enhancing port competitiveness. In this perspective, Notteboom and Rodrigue coined a new concept, defined as “port regionalization”, capable of explaining the new phase of growth of port systems, based on the emergence of broader logistics poles.