Directional inland port development: Powerful strategies for inland ports beyond the inside-out/outside-in dichotomy
Journal article, 2020

Considerable scientific attention has been paid to inland port research and many of the papers are driven by an Outside-In perspective where the seaport is often regarded as leader and the inland port as follower. Increasingly, Inside-Out approaches where inland ports themselves are taking the initiative are receiving scientific attention. However, it is argued that both processes can be at play simultaneously within the same port and that these processes are reinforcing each other. The focus of this paper is therefore on defining powerful strategies for inland ports also from an Inside-Out and bi-directional perspective. We observe that not all developments connected to inland ports acting as extended gates for seaports are positive: for inland ports traffic conditions might worsen, and external effects increase (i.e. seaport problems are ‘exported’ inland). New powerful strategies for inland ports are amongst others: redefining their role versus seaports with a central role for the inland port, governments should give more attention to the inland port and seek the development of strategic plans and strategies for the inland port as to realize their own objectives. Seaports and container carriers increasingly seek partly ownership of inland ports and terminals and inland port themselves should analyze if these developments suit their ambitions. Inland ports could also develop network strategies that not solely focus on the closest seaports but also consider adjacent inland ports. Cooperation with other inland ports can also be developed into a strategy that strengthens the role of the inland port versus seaports.

Outside in

Inland ports



Bi-directional development


Bart Wiegmans

Delft University of Technology

Patrick Witte

Utrecht University

Violeta Roso

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Research in Transportation Business and Management

2210-5395 (ISSN)

Vol. 35 June 2020 100415

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Transport Systems and Logistics

Public Administration Studies



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