Terminals favor the agglomeration of related activities in their proximity and adjacent to them (co-location). This terminal-client link mainly involves warehousing and distribution activities (A). The contribution of transport terminals to regional economic growth can often be substantial. As regional demand grows, so does the traffic handled by the related terminal, and this can spur further investments to expand the terminal’s capabilities and create a new terminal (B). Clusters are critical in shaping competition between countries, regions, and industries and can be defined as concentrated interdependent activities that operate in the same value chain.
This concept can be applied to seaports, which are composed of activities engaged in the transfer and distribution of goods. It also includes logistics activities, manufacturing, and administrative bodies such as a port authority. The performance of a seaport cluster is defined as the added value generated by the cluster. It is shaped by the interrelationships between the structure of the cluster and its governance. Cluster structure refers to the agglomeration effects and the degree of internal cohesion and competition. Cluster governance relates to the mix and relations between organizations and institutions that foster coordination and pursue projects that improve the cluster.
Cluster theory underlines that historically, port activity generates agglomeration economies that produce strong spatially distinct port communities. Despite similar results from economic impact studies, airports and rail terminals have received limited attention in the analysis of terminal-related clusters. Still, the setting of inland ports represents a novel form of clustering around rail terminals.