An evolutionary perspective on regional port systems: The role of windows of opportunity in shaping seaport competition

  • Jacobs W
  • Notteboom T
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Abstract

How do seaports evolve in relation to each other? Recent studies in port economics and transport geography have been focused on how supply-chain integration has structurally changed the competitive landscape in which individual ports and port actors operate. Port regionalization has been addressed as the corresponding new phase in the spatial and functional evolution of port systems. However, these studies lack theoretical foundations that allow us to assess empirically the role either of the institutional context or of strategic agency in the competitive (spatial and functional) evolution of regional (integrated) port systems. The authors present an evolutionary framework to analyze the development of seaports in a regional context by making use of the concept of 'windows of opportunity'. The role of seaport-based evolution in the processes aimed at positioning market players and ports on the container scene in the Rhine-Scheldt Delta is examined.

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