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  • Volume 58.1:Guest Editors' Introduction
  • Douglas N. Hales and Jasmine Sui Lee Lam

Global Shipping and Port Competitiveness: The Taditionalist and Supply Chain Perspectives

Global shipping is a volatile industry, but it is rapidly recovering from the 2016 market which saw the consolidation and bankruptcy of several shipping lines, including the Korean giant Hanjin Shipping. This forced global shippers and carriers to rethink how they are going to remain competitive in a market that still has significant overcapacity in 2018, and for the foreseeable future. Luckily, 2017 was a good year financially for the large carriers with improving operating margins. Extending the first special themed issue in summer 2018, this second special issue on global shipping and ports focuses on how shippers and carriers are becoming more flexible in their strategies and operations to create new competitive advantages. It addresses issues with the methods used to study ports, strategic impacts on large and small vessels, hinterland constraints to ports, as well as the emergence of supply chain theory to guide port priorities.

The lead article by Chang and Talley examines port competitiveness from the perspective of traditional port efficiency and the more contemporary supply chain viewpoint. It points out that there are some critical methodological issues in current port literature that may explain contradictory findings. They recommend directions for future research to resolve many of these issues.

The second article by Yalcin, Chakravorty, and Yun focuses on the contemporary perspective to discuss how supply chain agility and ambidexterity concepts can be used to improve port competitiveness through the theoretical lens of the Balanced Theory of Port Competitiveness. They find that both explorative and exploitive practices are beneficial to port competitiveness.

The third article by Lu and Yeh examines the impact of larger container vessels on port agility, which leads to greater efficiency and profits, but may harm customer service and safety. They note how Europe and Asia differ in how they tend to prioritize competitive factors from the proliferation of mega container vessels.

The fourth paper by Fliehr, Zimmer, and Smith focuses on hinterland access to ports that affects port operations and prices. In the context of Brazil, the authors examine how inefficiencies in farm-to-port logistics affect farm gate pricing. [End Page v]

Collectively, the studies in this second special issue show that contemporary supply chain factors, in addition to the traditionalist approach, must be examined using more appropriate methodologies. This includes weighing efficiency against effectiveness through a host of port operations including transportation, logistics, strategic objectives, and hinterland access. [End Page vi]

Douglas N. Hales
Corresponding Author
The University of Rhode Island
Jasmine Sui Lee Lam
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


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pp. v-vi
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