Strategic port development: Identifying a development approach for small and medium-sized ports


  • Peter Bjerg Olesen Aalborg Universitet
  • Iskra Dukovska-Popovska Aalborg Universitet
  • Hans-Henrik Hvolby Aalborg Universitet
  • Kenn Steger Jensen Aalborg Universitet



Danish port development, Port strategy, Supply chain, Hinterland development, port integration


While large global ports are recognised as playing a central role in many supply chains as logistic gateways, smaller regional ports have been more stagnant and have not reached the same level of development as the larger ports. The research literature in relation to port development is also heavily focussed on larger ports. The smaller ports do not have the same resources and knowledge to implement the techniques that have been developed for the larger ports, as these methods often are very complex in nature. Smaller ports do not have the economics of scale to support more complex developments. This paper examines a series of models from the port development literature and then proposes an approach for conceptualizing the strategic development of a port’s collaboration with local operators and the local hinterland based on connected development steps. The paper is based on a literature review relevant to international port development and a case study done in a Danish port as part of the main authors PhD project. The proposed model provides a strategic approach to control and improve the development of a port system and the connected hinterland. While the model is generic in its approach, the authors apply it to a Danish case study that illustrates its potential usage in determining port development.