The European railway market has gone through a period of liberalization over the last two decades. The liberalization of the railway market has also affected port-related railway transport. Efficient port-related transport chains are key in the competition among ports, however providing this efficiency is to a large extent a coordination challenge. Many forms of coordination are needed to ensure that the railway chain operates efficiently, including the bundling of cargo, and good organization between railway companies, terminal operators and the infrastructure managers to realize an efficient use of assets. From the literature, it appears that less attention has been paid to the economic organization of port-related railway transport in general, and specifically in the new liberalized institutional environment. The goal of this paper is to come up with a framework to better understand the issue of coordination in port-related railway chains in a liberalized institutional environment. This paper presents a conceptual framework rooted in Transaction Cost Economics (TCE). Based on an in-depth study into coordination in liberalized container railway market at the Port of Rotterdam, empirical illustrations are used to adjust the TCE approach toward a dynamic model influenced by Douglas North's theory on economic and institutional change. Empirics from the port of Rotterdam show that new players have entered the railway market and their role has changed. This paper shows that coordination of railway operations has become more complex after the regime change. From a port perspective, liberalization does not lead to an optimal allocation of resources in a process that is highly operationally interdependent. In the liberalized environment, coordination arrangements are necessary to enable efficient coordination of railway operations in Rotterdam.

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Transport Reviews: a transnational, transdisciplinary journal
Erasmus School of Economics

van der Horst, M., & van der Lugt, L. (2014). An Institutional Analysis of Coordination in Liberalized Port-related Railway Chains: An Application to the Port of Rotterdam. Transport Reviews: a transnational, transdisciplinary journal, 34(1), 68–85. doi:10.1080/01441647.2013.874379