Who governs and what is governed in port governance: A review study

Qiang Zhang, Harry Geerlings, Abdel El Makhloufi, Shun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Based on an intensive literature review, this paper investigates and presents generalized answers to the two basic questions of port governance, namely who governs and what is governed. There are totally 77 studies selected as the core literature sample according to a five-step approach. The results from literature review show evidences in favor of the important roles played by governmental organizations and port organizations as the main governing bodies of port governance. Furthermore, our analysis shows first, that multilevel governance has become a notable feature of port governance. Second, there are increasing involvements by national or regional levels of government in some countries such as the USA, Brazil, China. Third, port authorities at local level are generally holding the centre-stage position with further autonomy in managing port operations. Fourth, not-for-profit organizations related to port activities play the role of coordinators in port governance. Finally, different governance regimes with different specific governing actors for different port classifications can be identified for many nations. This study shows that fundamentally institutional arrangements and specific port activities are the two basic categories of what is governed. The institutional arrangements determine the port governance configuration and allocation of responsibilities of port activities. There are 12 groups of specific port activities within five categories identified in port governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-60
JournalTransport Policy
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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