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Strategic Port and Gateway Development: European Experiences
Dr. Alain Verbeke

In this paper, we propose an integrative conceptual framework for strategic seaport planning. We analyse port impacts from an extended gateway perspective. We also provide this framework’s operationalization in the form of a calculation model. The model builds upon the four components of the seaport system: the sea leg, the port activity component, the hinterland transport component and the port’s broader network in its hinterland. The model permits the comprehensive evaluation of alternative port expansion trajectories. We apply the model to the case of a European mainport, namely the Port of Antwerp. This application represents the substantive foundation of the present, long-term expansion plans of the Antwerp port authority. We provide a set of policy recommendations for port authorities and stakeholder groups involved in integrative, long-term port planning processes. More specifically, we suggest there is value added in the integrative approach vis-à-vis other, more conventional planning approaches, which do not take into account fully the wide variety of economic, spatial and environmental impacts of port development. We also identify some of the critical trade-offs that need to be performed, and planning pitfalls to be overcome, when applying this integrative approach in practice.

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