A quantitative analysis of European port governance
Faculty of Applied Economics
European Conference on Shipping, Intermodalism & Ports, ECONSHIP 2011, Chios, Greece, 22-24 June 2011
University of Antwerp
The ever-changing environment in which ports operate has put strong pressure on the role of port authorities. In 2010 the European Sea Ports Organisation concluded a major survey among European port authorities to prepare a new edition of its Fact-Finding Report‟. These reports have been monitoring port governance diversity since the 1970s. The 2010 survey was based on a new conceptual background which takes into account the evolution of the port concept as well as new perspectives on the role of port authorities. This paper does not describe the actual findings of the survey but focuses instead on the principal elements that may explain the governance diversity of European seaports. This is done with the help of factor analysis, a commonly applied tool to explore datasets with many variables which are then summarised into a limited number of unobserved factors. The results confirm the existence of different types of port governance in Europe which to some extent correspond with the hypothetical typology according to which port authorities can be conservators, facilitators or entrepreneurs. Differences are mainly geographically defined and the subdivision in Hanseatic, Latin, Anglo-Saxon and new Member State port authorities proves to be a valuable one. Besides this geographical explanation of diversity, the analysis also detects different governance practices between large and small ports.