Source: Adapted from B. Slack et C. Comtois (2010) “Identification des modeles de gouvernance d’un pole logistique en lien avec la realite quebecoise”, Amenagement d’un pole logistique au Quebec: cadre d’analyse de l’etude de faisabilite, Etude 1.2.
Inland ports and their associated logistic zones have a wider range of options than ports in terms of their governance model, in which the landlord model prevails. The ownership and the management of an inland port can be public, private, or a combination of both:
- Single Ownership. The logistics or inland port project is spearheaded by a single public or private actor. Although this governance model provides a clear purpose for the project, it is also potentially of high risk since only one actor is involved.
- Public-Private Partnership. A model where both the public and private sectors share the development of a logistics zone or inland port through the setting up of an entity, commonly with a public charter. Usually, the public sector is responsible for the development of infrastructures, while the private sector usually develops real estate.
- Landlord Model. A form of PPP with the public sector owning the real estate and developing the basic infrastructure. However, concessions are offered where private actors develop their own projects, namely warehouses and distribution centers.
Since a logistics zone or an inland port is a long-term project that is unlikely to be profitable in its initial phase, it represents a high risk for private investors. It is not surprising to realize that one of the largest private actors in North America, CenterPoint Properties, is financially backed by a pension plan (CalPERS) where the time horizon for returns on investment is more long-term. Because the benefits of inland ports and logistics zones include job creation and better usage of regional transport infrastructures, they tend to be perceived as projects of public benefit.