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Comparing port performance: Western European vs Eastern Asian ports
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Dr Mengying Feng
Professor Chunnilal Lalwani
Professor D John Mangan
Feng M, Lalwani C, Mangan J
International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report a comparative investigation of port performance between Western Europe and Eastern Asia and develop a strategy to improve their port performance accordingly. Design/methodology/approach – A comprehensive literature review is conducted in order to identify factors for port performance evaluation. A large-scale questionnaire survey is employed in two port regions for comparative analysis. Findings – Descriptive techniques and t-tests indicate that port performances in the case port regions are different from each other in some factors and that they share some common features in certain other factors. The findings reveal that the most critical differences between the case ports are government support, proximity, speed of cargo handling, safety and port technical infrastructure in descending order. The Western European ports need to improve on government support, reduce port charges, diversify port ownership and improve port connectivity, while the Eastern Asian ports need to improve customs services, expand hinterlands, enhance logistics demand, encourage intermodalism and set up “dry ports”. Research limitations/implications – This study was restricted to two port regions in China and the UK and data used in this research were mainly generated from questionnaire surveys, responses to which are, to some extent, subjective. Practical implications – Ports must provide services that meet and exceed customers' expectations to be competitive. This research yields practical insights for port managers to improve port performance as quantifying factors allows them to prioritize and compare the factor performance. The results of the empirical study can also assist port stakeholders to formulate their operational strategy for port performance improvement. Originality/value – The paper contributes to knowledge by addressing a gap in empirical research concerning performance comparison between Western European and Eastern Asian ports.
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