Dry ports in European and North American intermodal rail systems : two of a kind?
Institute for Transport en Maritime Management (ITMMA)
Asian Round Table 2012 Conference (ALRT 2012), University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, 14-15 June 2012
University of Antwerp
The development of inland freight distribution systems has been an active strategy to promote the hinterland of maritime gateways around the world. While differences can be observed among North-American and European hinterlands, intermodal rail and dry ports are playing a key role in the process of port regionalization. Despite a growing level of attention on the context and setting of dry ports, the function these nodes perform within their respective hinterlands varies substantially in terms of their governance, the stakeholders and the commercial relations they support. This paper analyzes the setting and development of rail-based dry ports in North America and Europe. We argue that rail-induced dry port development, or alternatively dry port induced rail development, comes in many forms and shapes as a function of the regional and local governance and regulatory settings, types and strategies of stakeholders involved, the spatial and functional relations with adjacent and or distant gateway ports, the dynamics in logistics network configurations, and the specific competitive setting (i.e. competition with trucking and barges in Europe) and imperatives in rail operations.