This first section starts from a broad definition of a seaport. Primarily, ports serve as transfer points in a transport chain. Besides this transport function, they also function as a location for (petrochemical) industry and logistics activities. The section will discuss these three port functions. For each of the functions it will become clear that they are highly different. Each port function has different firms that provide the services, different geographical scales of competition and different ways to measure port performance. Given a port’s many functions, it is difficult to measure port performance. Worldwide, throughput is most used in the industry. However, this does not provide information on the (regional) economic benefits of the port. Therefore, port-related employment and value added are also used as port performance indicators. The three port functions and the performance of the port will be illustrated for the case of Rotterdam, being Europe’s largest port. Also the performance of the port will be discussed. Several port performance indicators are discussed for the Rotterdam situation. The section illustrates some measures that have been taken in the past to increase the value added of the Rotterdam port region and to maintain its position in worldwide supply chains.

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Nijdam, M, & van der Horst, M.R. (2017). Port definition, concepts and the role of ports in supply chains: Setting the scene. In Ports and Networks: Strategies, Operations and Perspectives (pp. 9–25). doi:10.4324/9781315601540