Source: adapted from Notteboom and Rodrigue (2005).
The direct hinterland of a seaport (or another terminal) is rather continuous. More distant hinterland features tend to be discontinuous in nature since the density of hinterland is lower and because of the accessibility effect of transport corridors and inland terminals. The service areas of a container load center by rail and barge take the form of sets of overlapping service areas of individual inland terminals. The size of each of the inland service areas depends on the service frequency and the rates of intermodal shuttle services by rail and or barge, the extent to which the inland terminal acts as a gateway, and the efficiency and price of pre-and end-haul by truck. By developing strong functional links with particular inland terminals, a port might intrude in the natural hinterland of competing ports. “Islands” in the distant hinterland are created in which the load center achieves a comparative cost and service advantage in relation to rival seaports. This increases competition among ports of the same port system as the competitive margins of hinterlands become increasingly blurred.