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A case study analysis of the role of intermodal transport in port regionalisation

Monios, Jason


Jason Monios


This thesis presents an analysis of the role of intermodal transport in Notteboom and Rodrigue's (2005) port regionalisation concept, an approach to port development that focuses on the inland aspects of the process, as well as taking port development models from a spatial focus to a focus on institutions. It is argued that the port regionalisation concept is insufficiently disaggregated; it does not identify or classify different processes within the concept, nor does it explain how they operate or who drives them.
In this thesis, the port regionalisation concept is broken down into its three constituent parts: inland terminals, market and logistics and the resolution of collective action problems. Each of these is examined in its own chapter, based on a case study methodology. The methodology was chosen for its ability to provide rich detail and build or extend theory, as the overall aim of this thesis is to critique the port regionalisation concept and extend its explanatory power. Part one follows a multiplecase design, analysing numerous European inland terminal developments in order to
improve inland terminal classifications that can then contribute to the port regionalisation concept. Parts two and three each utilise a single case design, taking a single case in depth in order to explore in rich detail how these issues play out in industry. Part two studies the role of large retailers as the primary drivers of intermodal transport in the UK, while part three examines the development of an intermodal corridor in the United States, offering the opportunity to study a collective action
problem in detail.
Part one reveals that port actors, both port authorities and port terminal operators, can be directly involved in the development of inland terminals, and that differences can be observed between terminals developed by port actors and those developed by inland actors. A conceptual distinction is proposed to capture this observation. Part two identifies barriers to port regionalisation, such as operational issues, spatial development decisions and a lack of integration between inland market players. Part three demonstrates the difficulties faced by public bodies attempting to direct regionalisation strategies, constrained by legitimacy and agency conflicts and an institutional structure that limits their effectiveness. An added contribution to the literature is the theoretical framework that is developed for the analysis of the institutional factors at play in resolving a collective action problem.
While additional cases are required to advance the concept further, the cases in this thesis elucidate reasons why ports may not be controlling or capturing hinterlands through the strategies of integration that the port regionalisation concept suggests. It may be more accurate to state that regionalisation can only occur as long as a set of favourable commercial and institutional conditions are maintained. The findings from the cases presented in this thesis suggest that it is not easy to maintain such conditions, implying that regionalisation may be the exception rather than the norm.


Monios, J. A case study analysis of the role of intermodal transport in port regionalisation. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2014
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Intermodal transport; port regionalisation;
Public URL
Award Date 2013-03


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