New book ‘Port Economics, Management and Policy’ offers comprehensive reference for port professionals

New book ‘Port Economics, Management and Policy’ offers comprehensive reference for port professionals

Professor Theo Notteboom recently published the book ‘Port Economics, Management and Policy’ together with Jean-Paul Rodrigue (New York) and Athanasios Pallis (Athens). The book aims to be a comprehensive handbook for port professionals.

“There are of course hundreds of interesting books and publications about ports that target professionals,” Theo Notteboom also knows. “But often these focus very specifically on one element of the port landscape. Think circular economy, breakbulk, digitalization, energy transitions and liner shipping. All interesting themes. But we still find that too often there is a fragmented view of the global port scene.”

The Port of Antwerp Bruges, for example, expresses its strategic ambitions in terms of the circular economy like this: “We want to attract new players and stimulate existing industry in the port to make the transition to a circular economy. To this end, we are creating the necessary space, developing the necessary infrastructure and encouraging innovation.” In the port’s annual report however, there aren’t any concrete figures related to that ambition. So how are we to measure how circular the port economy really is, and what progress is being made? Having a good monitoring system in place for a circular economy in ports will be a prerequisite for answering that question.


Diverse is certainly the company. Theo Notteboom is not only at home in Western European ports. Thanks to his past activities as a lecturer in China, he also knows the Asian port world and economy quite well. “My Greek colleague worked for the government in Greece when the port of Piraeus was sold. The other confrere is from Montreal and is a transportation geographer, with an excellent knowledge of the Americas.”

“Thanks to the interaction, we especially came to realize that everyone looks at things through their own local lens. Only those who are aware of that can really see why things work in China, or anywhere in the world, that wouldn’t here. And vice versa. Our insights about port labor with pool systems, for example, that works here. But not necessarily in other ports. I therefore think that the neutrality of the book, through our cooperation, offers great added value.”


The bulky handbook of nearly 700 pages covers all aspects of modern port development and modern port management. “We describe the integral port business in a very logical structure. Structured into eight sections plus an introduction and epilogue, a wide range of topics follows, including ocean shipping and international trade, port terminals, port administration, port competition, port policy and much more. All very neutral, except in our epilogue. There we bundle together some crucial questions about the future.”


The book will be able to be used as a textbook at universities. But it can also be used by any active port professional who wants a broad basic knowledge of shipping and ports. That a printed book is out of date before it is even on the market, the authors also know. “We provide permanent updates through our website,” Professor Notteboom emphasizes.

This article Theo Notteboom schrijft mee aan lijvig havennaslagwerk | Flows by Bart Timpeneers first appeared (in Dutch) on Flows News –  January 30, 2022

Find more details about the new book

Port Economics, Management and Policy provides a comprehensive analysis of the contemporary port industry, showing how ports are organized to serve the global economy and support regional and local development. Structured in nine sections, this textbook examines a wide range of seaport topics, covering maritime shipping and international trade, port terminals, port governance, port competition, port policy and much more.


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