Towards a toolkit for port related socio-economic impacts: a meta-analysis of socio-economic impact studies conducted for seaports
Port authorities increasingly need to communicate with a variety of external stakeholders in order to maintain and strengthen the societal acceptance of seaport activities. The availability of socio-economic impact studies on port authority and regional development agency websites has often made this information accessible to the public at large. However, the differences in methodologies adopted, in terms of selecting, defining and measuring various types of socio-economic impacts, sometimes lead to misconceptions as well as misleading comparisons across ports within and between regions. In this paper, guidelines were suggested for the design and application of a potential best practice from an interregional perspective (UK, France and Belgium), based on research in the framework of a European Commission co-funded project, ‘IMPACTE’. The paper also aims to develop guidelines for comparing the socio-economic impacts of ports across regional and national borders and discusses the development of a European port economic impact measurement toolkit. A sample of 33 recent socio-economic impact assessment reports were analysed in terms of methodologies adopted and types of impacts measured. The review shows a great diversity among these studies, leading to important differences between the impacts of port activity communicated to stakeholders.