WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 421–438 | Cite as

Revisiting port pricing; a proposal for seven port pricing principles

  • Roy Van Den Berg
  • Peter W. De Langen
  • Paul C.J. Van Zuijlen


A review of seven large landlord port authorities around the world reveals a notable diversity of pricing structures. While port authorities increasingly act as commercial undertakings, port pricing often seems to be not driven by commercial considerations. In this paper, we argue that ports can be regarded as “business ecosystems” with multiple users. This provides a valuable perspective on pricing and raises the question of whether ports can be regarded as two-sided markets. We argue this is not the case. The business ecosystem perspective provides a basis for deducing seven pricing principles for port authorities that are detailed in the paper and illustrated with cases these principles. These pricing principles are broadly follow a direct user pays approach; capture value from “non-core” tenants; price aggressively for activities with a high strategic value; differentiate pricing based on price elasticity and connectivity improvements; maximize revenue from long-term lease agreements, price port dues competitively; critically consider differentiation of charges based on environmental performance; and finally use incentives to align interests of terminal operators and shipping lines. We conclude that the ecosystem perspective is central to the understanding of pricing decisions of port authorities and that various pricing issues deserve more attention.


Port pricing Two-sided markets Port authorities Port users Revenue management 



This research is supported by the Dutch Institute for Advanced Logistics (DINALOG) and was part of a research project on efficient multimodal hinterland networks.


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Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Van Den Berg
    • 1
  • Peter W. De Langen
    • 2
  • Paul C.J. Van Zuijlen
    • 3
  1. 1.Port of Rotterdam AuthorityRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department Industrial Engineering & Innovation SciencesEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Broekman GroupRotterdamThe Netherlands

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