Towards improved port capacity investment decisions under uncertainty : a real options approach
Port activity plays an important role in facilitating international trade. Sufficient capacity is indispensable for a port to attract flows to a region and retain them. The capacity decision is the result of a trade-off between investment and waiting costs. Traditional methods to value expansion projects do not deal adequately with managerial flexibility in the face of uncertainty from different sources in the complex port environment. In this paper, real options (RO) models are identified as an alternative method to making project valuations and investment decisions, as they attribute the correct value to managerial flexibility under uncertainty. In order to be able to build and use such RO models for port capacity investment decisions, the sources and implications of uncertainty in the port and the different RO model specifications need to be understood. To this end, both the literature about uncertainty in the port context and the literature about real options models are reviewed in order to provide researchers who want to build their own decision-making models, with the necessary knowledge of both fields. The review makes clear that the complex interactions in and competition between the logistics chains and their actors coming together in ports have significant impacts on port capacity. Uncertainty is also caused by uncertain international trade flows and changes in legislation following new technologies and environmental impacts. An analysis of the components of some general RO models shows how the options of flexible output, investment size and timing are valued by RO models in a setting with demand uncertainty. Moreover, the review presents researchers with insights in how to deal with cooperative and competitive interactions in the chain, time to build, cyclical markets and legislation changes. It also shows how to value the expansion and the phased investment options. The new insights resulting from this review are subsequently combined in a framework that serves as a guideline to build RO models for port capacity investments. Finally, an exemplifying application of the framework is used to build an actual port capacity investment decision model.
Source (journal)
Transport reviews. - London, 1981, currens
London : 2019
0144-1647 [print]
1464-5327 [online]
39 :4 (2019) , p. 531-552
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Full text (open access)
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Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 13.12.2018
Last edited 09.10.2023
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