The Quality of Port Infrastructure Ranking

There is something about rankings. In sports, and increasingly in business, rankings abound. We have rankings of the best places to live, the most knowledge intensive regions of the world and the most competitive economies. In the latter case, countries are compared across economic performance criteria. One of the most influential is the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The 2012-2013 WEF ranking appeared last September. Switzerland is on top, moving ahead of Singapore. The WEF ranking consists of over 100 ranked items, classified in 12 pillars. For each pillar, some rankings are survey based, while others are based on actual data.

Through the provision of cost-efficient, reliable and frequent connections to overseas and inland markets seaports play an essential role in facilitating trade and in increasing the competitiveness of a nation or region. It is no surprise that Pillar 2 of the GCI dealing with infrastructure includes a component on the ‘Quality of Port Infrastructure’. This component is based on survey results where business leaders assess the competitiveness of economies. Like most other rankings in business, the ranking methodology is not perfect. For one, the ranking is based on perceptions of business leaders, which may not always be accurate. In academia, scholars are well aware that ‘stated preferences’ (based on perceptions and ‘what if ’ situations) and ‘revealed preferences’ (based on actual economic behaviour) do not always point to the same direction. Next, the business leaders rank a variety of indicators, so they rank the quality of port infrastructure probably more in relation to other variables, as compared to other countries. Third, cultural differences are likely to affect results. In some cultures more outspoken and straightforward scores are given, while respondents in other cultures are less inclined to score really high or low. This is relevant as the highest-ranking countries…

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Peter de Langen, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Theo Notteboom, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, Thanos Pallis, University of the Aegean, Chios, Greece
Edition: Edition 56

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