The Role of Public Shareholders in Government Owned Port Development Companies: Insights from the Dutch Case

Peter W. de Langen, Larissa M. van der Lugt

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This paper discusses how public interests in seaports can be secured in the corporatized model. This corporatized model, in which port authorities engage in port development on a commercial basis, is increasingly used. We discuss in detail an important question that so far has not received attention in the literature on port governance: how can the public shareholders use their influence as shareholders of port authorities to achieve public policy goals. We advance the theoretical body of knowledge by applying insights from regulatory economics to the port industry. As an empirical illustration, we analyse the current practices of the public shareholders of the four large Dutch port authorities, based on policy documents and interviews. All of them have explicit shareholder policies. However, some of these policies are too broad to provide sufficient direction for the management team and supervisory board of the port authority involved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Transport Economics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)589-609
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Port reform
  • Public interests
  • Port authority
  • Corporatization
  • Shareholder policy

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