Port competitiveness and value creation: the network approach. Empirical evidence from the Italian port system
2 May 2018
University of Antwerp, Promotiezaal Grauwzusters - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus
Marcella De Martino
Prof. dr. Hilde Meersman, Prof. dr. Eddy Van de Voorde
PhD defence Marcella De Martino - Faculty of Applied Economics
The emergence of the paradigm shift in the interpretation of competitiveness, not anymore unfolding between individual ports, but between logistic chains, has contributed to enrich the perspectives and the levels of analysis of port competitiveness. Although the port’s role in facilitating trade is crucial, with implications on its value for the region and nation, it is undeniable that its competitiveness depends on the ability of port operators to develop relationships along the supply chains in order to satisfy different target groups.
The thesis aims at deepening the nature of relational dynamics shaping value creation in the supply chains and port competitiveness according to specific target groups. Based on an extensive literature review, the main theoretical contribution of the thesis is the definition of a model of analysis of port value creation that takes into account the nature of relational dynamics between port authority and port business operators in the supply chains. The context of the analysis is the Italian port system.
The main empirical results can be synthesized at two levels: terminal operating companies (TOCs) and supply chains. By applying the Ego-centric Social Network Analysis, the present research pays special attention to the evolution of the inter-organizational networks centred on Italian TOCs from 2011 to 2015. The result of the analysis show the existence of a wide collaborative cluster in the Italian market characterized, however, by few power positions. At supply chain’s level, three Italian ports are analysed: La Spezia, Trieste and Naples. These cases study offer interesting and useful insights on the impacts of relational dynamics between port authority and port business operators on port value creation (or destruction).