International Journal of Maritime Economics vol:2 pages:69-82
This article aims to identify empirically the most important location advantages determining the port of Antwerp's competitive position for containers and conventional cargo as compared to its main rivals in the Hamburg-Le Havre range. A conceptual framework is developed for analysing the competitiveness of seaports, based on an extended version of Porter's 'diamond' approach. This framework is tested through a large scale survey with port operators and experts. This article suggests that the port of Antwerp largely benefits from the superstructure used by forwarders, the flexibility and the productivity of its dockworkers and its forwarders. The analysis also identifies three key disadvantages, namely the weak competitiveness of pilotage and inland navigation service providers in the port of Antwerp, and the limited maritime accessibility of the port. The introduction of the extended 'diamond' framework allows the identification of a set of strengths and weaknesses characterising a specific port cluster and can thus contribute substantially to the development of port policy and management.