Persistent development in global trade has significantly increased the demand for liner shipping, of which the industry is now being characterised by larger vessel size, comprehensive geographical coverage and frequent restructuring of shipping lines like transhipment. In turn, this has led to tense port competition, and port attractiveness is playing a pivotal role in this aspect. Understanding this and using container transhipment as a case study, this paper investigates the attractiveness of the major ports in Northern Europe acting as transhipment hubs. Through a Likert-style questionnaire directed towards the top 30 shipping lines, it was found that Hamburg and Rotterdam are the most attractive options acting as transhipment hubs within Northern Europe, with Antwerp and Bremerhaven closely behind. Felixstowe and Le Havre are the least attractive options requiring substantial improvements to change the current situation. In general, the opinion of shipping lines in port attractiveness seems to be in accordance to their decisions on transhipment hub choices. It is believed that this paper can shed some light on the attractiveness of major North European ports and the methodology of assessing port attractiveness, as well as providing a springboard for further research related to port competition.

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Maritime Economics and Logistics
Erasmus School of Economics

Ng, K. Y. (2006). Assessing the attractiveness of ports in the North European container transhipment market. Maritime Economics and Logistics, 8(3), 234–250. doi:10.1057/palgrave.mel.9100158