COMPETITION BETWEEN PORTS AND INVESTMENT PLANNING

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9485.1970.tb00716.x
Publication Date01 Nov 1970
AuthorH. C. Garnett
COMPETITION BETWEEN
PORTS
AND
INVESTMENT PLANNING
H.
C.
GA~RNETT
The
1960s
were a decade of rapid change in overseas transport technologies.
That decade saw the introduction of container ships, hovercraft, massive
tankers and ore carriers,
LASH
(lighter-aboard-ship) vessels, freightliners,
and jumbo jets. Many of these will achieve their full potential
in
the
1970s.
These new transport modes have not only had an effect upon the design
of
ports but also upon the procedures required to control their development
at
a national level.
Whereas in the past there may have been
no
technological
reason to exercise any national control at all, the current situation makes it
unrealistic and inefficient to leave individual ports with power to plan and
implement their own major developments. The basic theme of this paper
is that the state
of
the technology for the transport
of
bulk and general
cargoes is such that competition between ports for the business of British
exporters and importers will result in higher than necessary overseas total
distribution costs. Because inland transport costs and times are
so
much
lower the effective hinterland of each port is much larger than it used to be.
However, against this has to be weighed the fact that individual ports
now
can have the technical capacity to handle in a year a large proportion
of
British cargo of a given type and
on
a given trade route. Therefore, as the
natural, long term tendency would be for port (and perhaps shipping)
monopolies to develop
it
is in the best interests of the users
of
port facilities
for national control
to
be exercised over them.
In
the past the threat
of
local port monopolies was thwarted by local user representation
on
port
boards; now the likelihood
of
national monopolies requires control at a
national level.
The first part of this paper will be concerned with the relationship
between transport technology, for overseas and inland movements of freight,
and competition between ports. The second will discuss national planning
procedures which were adopted in the mid-1960s and the more recent port
nationalisation proposals.
An
investment appraisal scheme which would
give the technical ability to exercise the central control proposed here will
be discussed
in
the final section.
I
THE CHANGING
TRANSPORT
TECHNOLOGY
AND
COMPETITION
BETWEEN
PORTS
There are some
300
harbour authorities in Great Britain, although the
ten largest plus the British Transport Docks Board's ports control
90
per cent.

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