Centre of Applied Research Technology

Port governance revisited: How to govern and for what purpose?


This review paper investigates and presents generalized answers to the two basic questions of port governance, namely how to govern and for what purpose.

The study is based on a total sample of 118 studies on port governance. The results from the analysis of these studies show that port devolution and port re-centralization are the main governance tools at the institutional level. At the strategical level, the main governance tools are port co-opetition, port regionalization, port integration, stakeholder management strategy, and corporate governance. While at the managerial level, the main governance tools are port pricing, port concession, port user/customer relationship management, monitoring and measuring, regulatory control, port security management, and information and communication technologies. The institutional governance tools are generally used by governmental organizations to set the fundamental regulative rules for the port governance system, while strategical tools are applied by port organizations in gaining competitive advantages and increasing market share in the long term. Managerial tools are related to the port business operations and management. Furthermore, The study clearly shows that the main objective of port governance is the improvement of port efficiency and port effectiveness. However, the choice of efficiency-oriented or effectiveness-oriented configuration is largely determined by the port organization's external operating environment, strategies and structures.

Reference Zhang, Q., Zheng, S., Geerlings, H., & El Makhloufi, A. (2019). Port governance revisited: How to govern and for what purpose? Transport Policy, 77, 46-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2019.03.001
1 May 2019

Publication date

May 2019


Qiang Zhang
Shiyuan Zheng
Harry Geerlings


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