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Author(s): Olaf Merk, Administrator Ports and Shipping, the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris, France

Ports have been ever-present throughout human civilisation, yet only in recent times have we witnessed the emergence of mega-ports. Mega-ports can be considered truly indispensable nodes of the current globalised economic system. But what are mega-ports, who needs them, how does a port become one of them, and should we be glad about them; these are the questions that this paper seeks to address.

WHAT IS A MEGA-PORT?
There are three dimensions to a mega-port: the cargo volume it handles, the economic value it represents, and the land and water surface it utilises. Therefore, a mega-port can be ‘mega’ because of large throughput, economic force or sheer physical size. These dimensions can go together, but do not necessarily. For example, there are ports that handle a lot of cargo but do not generate that much economic value, because they do not have trade clusters (such as Singapore), industrial estates (such as Rotterdam) or thriving waterfronts (such as Barcelona) connected to the port. A mega-port has the power to contribute up to a third of a regional economy…

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The Journal of Ports & Terminals – Top 30 Technical Papers 2014-2016

PTI Edition 72 • Digital & Print
Edition 72 is a special hardback collector's edition collating the Top 30 Papers from 2014-2016, covering cutting-edge automation, mega-ship challenges and supply chain trends. Chosen from PTI's library of over 1,400 technical papers, the top 30 have been chosen based on their popularity with our readers in terms of downloads, views and shares.