Labor Toolkit

Alternative Port Management Structures and Ownership Models

Objectives and Overview

Module 3 is organized into seven sections, and the following sections are summarized briefly below.

Evolution of Port Institutional Frameworks provides basic terms of reference and a conceptual framework for defining the respective roles of the public and private sectors in port management. The section also describes a number of public interest issues affecting port planning, port operations, and infrastructure development.

Port Functions, Services, and Administration Models defines a number of typical management structures that ports use around the globe. This section spells out the kinds of tasks that public ports undertake and defines for each of the alternative management structures ways in which discrete elements of these tasks are assigned to various parties.

Port Finance Overview focuses on the important subject of port funding, a topic that is dealt with at greater length in Modules 5 and 8. Here, the private sector plays an increasingly important role in providing funds for infrastructure development, in addition to paying for superstructure, equipment, and systems. This has not only a profound impact on management structures, but also on long-term public participation in port development. The analysis assesses various aspects of public versus private investments in infrastructure, including which components of infrastructure are paid for by the government or by the port authority, which investments should be made by the terminal operator, and how governments with limited funds can harness private funding for port-related investments. This section also analyzes the role global terminal operators—both shipping lines and stevedoring companies—play in today’s maritime sector and assesses their impact on port management and finance.

Port Reform Modalities presents an overview of various port reform options and describes the strengths and weaknesses of each. There are many ways to change the institutional structure of a port. Traditional methods of operating and management structures have been abandoned, with ports increasingly operating as commercial entities in the global marketplace. The process of structural change can be a painful one, with the potential for making costly mistakes. However, increasingly the international port community agrees on the structural role and function of port authorities. The global market has had a unifying influence on emerging institutional structures. The increasing influence of international finance institutions (IFIs) on port development also facilitates the introduction of efficient models and structures all over the world. Although there is still a large diversity of port management and organizational structures, the trend toward several successful port management models is strong.

Reform Tools analyzes the various concession arrangements or tools available to port managers. The role of the public sector in financing port development is eroding and the private sector has assumed more responsibility, not only in port finance but also in port operations. This causes a gradual shift in the balance of power between the public sector and the private sector. It is not clear how far this shift will go, but it is evident that the balance is likely to be shifted from port to port and from country to country.

Marine Services and Port Reform analyzes traditional marine services in the context of port reform. Such services include activities that are carried out by both the public and private sector. Marine services ensure the safe and expeditious flow of vessel traffic in port approaches and harbors and a safe stay at berth or at anchor. In every port, the harbormaster (or port captain) is responsible for nautical safety and often also for the protection of the environment. Other services such as vessel traffic management, pilotage, and dangerous goods control are described as well. Finally, the section describes several possible reform approaches that can be applied to marine services.

Upon completing this module, the reader should have attained a better understanding of the various types of port management and ownership alternatives, their respective strengths and weaknesses, and of which alternatives might best fit a port’s particular circumstances.


How To Use The Toolkit


Framework for Port Reform

The Evolution of Ports in a Competitive World

Alternative Port Management Structures and Ownership Models

Objectives and Overview

Evolution of Port Institutional Frameworks

Port Functions, Services, and Administration Models

Port Finance Overview

Port Reform Modalities

Reform Tools

Marine Services and Port Reform

Legal Tools for Port Reform

Financial Implications of Port Reform

Port Regulation:
Overseeing the Economic Public Interest in Ports

Labor Reform and Related Social Issues

Implementing Port Reform


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