The Historcal Positioning of the Port of Antwerp with Regard to Container Traffic (1970-2012)



In our project, the positioning of the port of Antwerp is analysed in four subsequent geographical levels: the global scale, continental Europe, the Hamburg-Le Havre range and finally a comparison between Antwerp and Rotterdam. In order to evaluate the positioning of the ports, we integrate a strategic positioning analysis that incorporates several growth-share matrixes using the BCG-framework, diversification, shift-share and market concentration analyses. The project also implements explanatory factors. The transition from the former superiority of the Triad to the current dominance of Asia was the main result of the global analysis. The Hamburg-Le Havre range remained the largest port range in continental Europe and the positions of the port ranges have stayed remarkably stable, both in container as well as in total traffic. Within this range, there was a convergence trend in market shares of the 'big four' (Rotterdam, Antwerp, Bremen and Hamburg). The traffic group of containers has risen significantly in portfolio share in almost all ports, which replaced the portfolio share of other general cargo. The ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp are top container ports on all investigated market segmentations. However, although they were considered each other’s greatest competitors in the past, they have now changed their policy to enhance cooperation between each other. 

The Business History Seminar is organised by the Business History Centre and has been made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) and the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication