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An empirical test of the balanced theory of port competitiveness

Douglas N. Hales (College of Business Administration, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA)
Y.T. Chang (Graduate School of Logistics, Inha University, Incheon, South Korea)
Jasmine Siu Lee Lam (School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)
Olivier Desplebin (Institute of Business Administration, Rouen University, Rouen, France)
Nikhilesh Dholakia (College of Business Administration, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA)
Adel Al-Wugayan (Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business Administration, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically test a new theory called the balanced theory of port competitiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from multiple respondents in 72 of the largest container ports. The instrument was translated into English, Simplified Chinese, Korean, and French. The data were collected through online and paper-based surveys. The data were analyzed using analytical hierarchy process.

Findings

The theory was shown to explain the behavior of port stakeholders in improving competitiveness by balancing the need to attract new customers with that of attracting new investors when making decisions, which can often be contradictory. The analysis showed significant effects for the five variables of volume competitiveness (VC) and the five variables of investment competitiveness.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited in that it only tested the balanced theory on the largest container ports. The decisions by port managers may differ at smaller ports or those that do not handle containers.

Practical implications

Port stakeholders now have a ten-variable model of the factors needed to attract new customers and investors. These variables, and their tradeoffs, can evaluate the impact of managerial decisions on port competitiveness.

Originality/value

This study informs the literature by being the first to test a new theory that explains a greater level of port stakeholder behavior when improving competitiveness. Prior to this study, VC and investor competitiveness had only been studied separately, although they were related in practice.

Keywords

Citation

Hales, D.N., Chang, Y.T., Lam, J.S.L., Desplebin, O., Dholakia, N. and Al-Wugayan, A. (2017), "An empirical test of the balanced theory of port competitiveness", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 363-378. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-06-2015-0101

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited