South Florida Ports - The battle for the sea is won inland, is it indeed?
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Competition requires seaports to focus on their inland access, on the demand for services in its traditional hinterland and also on development in areas outside their immediate market. Many container ports around the world are involved in implementation and/or development of inland intermodal terminals/dry ports/inland ports to improve their inland access in order to increase their competitive advantage. However, container ports in South Florida; Port of Miami, Port Everglades and Port of Palm Beach, function perfectly well, annually increasing their container volumes, without particular engagement in development of their inland access or hinterland expansion. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate why these seaports can function without any particular collaboration with inland container facilities while many other ports have to work hard on inland access through collaboration with inland intermodal terminals.
Data for the study was collected through face-to-face interviews at Port of Miami, Port Everglades and Port of Palm Beach. Prior the field study an extensive literature review has been carried out; in addition, a number of secondary sources were used, such as reports and internal documents.
Findings and originality
Capacity increase only at seaport facilities without improvements in seaports’ inland access often is not enough for the entire container transport chain to function properly. With constantly growing container transports, efficiency of rail and flexibility of road are increasingly needed for inland access to/from the seaports. Competition requires seaports to focus on their inland access but between container ports in South Florida there is no competition; they work on bringing the volumes to Florida from different markets in hinterland and foreland; and they have no particular capacity issues at their terminals.
Many seaports tend to expand their hinterland through close links with inland intermodal terminals based on a higher level of functional integration. However, the seaports in the study show functionality without involvement in inland side of operations as long as the seaports in question don’t face space, congestion or completion issues! Data for the case studies are collected at ports of Miami, Everglades and Palm Beach. A more comprehensive view on the issue could be obtained through additional cases on other seaports in the US.
Inland intermodal terminal