Research Output
Competition and complementarity between seaports and hinterlands for locating distribution activities.
  A locational duality in port-related distribution activities is emerging. In some regions, distribution activities have moved from ports to inland locations, driven in part by ‘push factors’ such as port congestion and scarcity of land for container handling activities, or by ‘pull factors’ such as the growth of intermodal corridors, the influence of inland terminals and the changing economic geography in the hinterland. In other regions, ports retain their traditional role as centres of distribution and warehousing activity. More recently, the focus on ‘port-centric logistics’ is indicative that some regions are refocusing on ports as potential locations for large distribution centres. The result has been a growing competition, but also complementarity, between ports and inland locations concerning the location of distribution activities, driven not only by market forces but also by institutional settings and the governance relations between the actors involved.

This report provides an overview of regional differences across the world in order to develop a framework identifying for which type of distribution activities ports are suitable locations and which activities are best suited to the hinterland, taking into account geographical, economic and logistics settings. Empirical evidence is derived from a variety of regions in Europe, North America, South America, Southern Africa and Asia.

  • Type:

    Discussion Paper

  • Date:

    01 April 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher


  • Library of Congress:

    HF Commerce

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    380 Commerce, communications & transportation


Monios, J., Notteboom, T., Wilmsmeier, G. & Rodrigue, J. (2016). Competition and complementarity between seaports and hinterlands for locating distribution activities



Seaports; distribution activities; locations;

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