Adapted from: Parola, F., Pallis, A.A., Risitano, M. and Ferretti, M. (2016). Marketing strategies of Port Authorities: A multi-dimensional framework. Paper presented at EURAM Conference 2016, 1-4 June, Paris, France.
The role and function of most port authorities have evolved. In many cases, the conventional role of the operator has been discarded and replaced with concessions to private terminal operators. As such, port authorities are becoming more marketing-oriented with the main objective of promoting the port region’s (or port cluster’s) interests. These strategies take place over three main realms of engagement, each with its associated stakeholders:
- Commercial. From a commercial standpoint, often the core of marketing strategies, the port authority seeks to capture or retain traffic and secure investments to develop infrastructures or superstructures. This is particularly important since economies of scale push for larger ships and, therefore, more substantial investments in the port’s handling capabilities. Corporations doing business with the port, such as lessees and carriers, are the main stakeholders. The port authority seeks to create a commercial environment where users have opportunities to expand their businesses. The outcome is the expansion of business capital able to assist the port authority.
- Institutional. Port authorities are part of a complex institutional setting that sets policies and regulations impacting port activities. They regulate processes such as the planning and developing port infrastructure, how decisions are made, regulations applied and project funded. Institutions responsible for the oversight of port activities are the main stakeholders. The outcome is the expansion of institutional capital.
- Community. The communities in which port authorities require public relation initiatives, particularly since port activities are associated with congestion and environmental externalities. Therefore, port authorities engage in projects with local community stakeholders to mitigate its negative externalities and promote their respective interests. The outcome is the expansion of social capital.