Long-term analysis of traffic flows in European inland ports: implications for the port-city interface

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1 Citaat (Scopus)


Inland ports are considered as essential levers for the global economic and ecological transition within supply chains, both in their role as multimodal platforms and as integrated clusters of urban economic activity. Yet, their activities and the resulting negative local externalities continue to pose burdens on the adjacent, and often densely populated, urban areas in which they operate. At present, it has been observed that changes in global economic tendencies affect the traffic configuration of inland ports, leading to substantial spatial and societal repercussions on the inland port–city interface. Therefore, this paper investigates the impacts of five identified global economic tendencies on the traffic patterns of inland ports: containerization, energy transition, sustainable construction, urban logistics, and circular economy. The consequences of related traffic evolutions on inland port infrastructures, as well as relationships with local community stakeholders, are evaluated. As such, our research has been designed in two well-defined ways. First, a quantitative, backward-looking in-depth analysis of past traffic development (1998–2017) of seven Western European inland ports, located within major urban regions, has been carried out, describing general trends in traffic structure evolution in light of the five identified global economic tendencies. The selected inland ports were Basel, Brussels, Charleroi, Frankfurt, Liège, Paris, and Strasbourg. The ports were selected as part of the northwestern Rhine–Seine–Scheldt inland waterways network, connected to the Hamburg–Le Havre range. By means of this sample, all major inland navigation corridors, linking the Hamburg–Le Havre range to the hinterland, are represented. Second, a qualitative, forward-looking analysis of the impact of the five identified global economic tendencies on the inland port–city interface has been performed by means of a World Café, held during a recent masterplanning process of the Port of Brussels. Based on both approaches, our findings confirm that the economic and environmental transition in inland ports is rapidly accelerating. At the same time, these transitions have the potential to significantly complicate the collaboration between urban stakeholders, in terms of optimal inland port development, urban land and infrastructure use, and the management of local negative externalities.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)272-300
Aantal pagina's29
TijdschriftMaritime Economics & Logistics
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
Vroegere onlinedatum7 jul 2022
StatusPublished - jun 2023

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

Copyright 2023 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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