Source: Rodrigue, J-P and T. Notteboom (2011) “Port Regionalization: Improving Port Competitiveness by Reaching beyond the Port Perimeter”, Port Technology International, No. 52, pp. 11-17.
The growth of hinterland traffic, if only supported by drayage (truck) operations, leads to increasing diseconomies such as congestion and capacity limitations. With this, the level of disorder in the inland transport system involves higher transport costs and unreliability in freight distribution. Therefore, the formation of an inland load center network aims at coping with these diseconomies through a massification of several inland flows. It involves a series of inland terminals (IT) linked to the port facilities by high-capacity rail or barge (when feasible) corridors. A supporting land use structure needs to be established, mostly concerning the clustering of logistics activities (e.g. distribution centers) and often in co-location with the terminal facilities. For instance, port-centric logistics zones support freight distribution activities related to maritime shipping and have a dominant international trade orientation. Port authorities tend to be proactive for this type of development since it supports and provides added value to port activities. An inland port is an intermodal terminal (commonly rail) built or updated concomitantly with the development of adjacent (co-located) logistical and service activities. Although in proximity (not co-located) to the terminal facility, an intermodal industrial park is a similar structure.