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A port is the transit area from where goods and people move to other areas that is also known as seaport. Ports are the locations or places where contacts of maritime spaces and land occur. These are the nodes where inline transport lines and ocean meet and intertwine and become the intermodal places of junction (Hayuth, 1985). Ports are the systems with functional and specific characteristics. Foreland port and hinterland triptych accentuates functional and spatial ties of land leg and seaborne leg. Regionalization depends upon the multiple factors like, market related, geographical and technical etc. Our paper is aimed to focus upon the influencing factors on Port of Bristol.
According to Wayne (2009) port is a place where passengers and cargo move to and from the shores and waterways. These ports are owned commercially, privately and by governments to make profit for the public. Public ports have objectives to promote the regional employment and exports of local goods for which the port has advantage and economic development. Ports are the places for the economic activities. Port user including the shippers, carriers, and passengers and service providers are the main actors of the ports. The income attained through the activities on the port is spent in the port's hinterland for example food, clothing, housing education and entertainment etc. Thus ports indirectly affect its hinterland activities. Agglomerations are exhibited by the ports. It refers the concentration of people at one place or the firm where a large firm is located and that city of firm is called as port city. This agglomeration is used in terms of a port cluster. A port in turn is the cluster of economic activities (de Langen 2002, Hazendonek 2001). Port stakeholders get benefits from the agglomeration which is affected by the port operations. These stakeholders are internal as the employees and external as the assisting hands of maritime related firms. Other constituents of the stakeholders are the legislation-government agencies responsible for the transport and port issues and general public, press and community groups (Notteboom and Winkelmans, 2002).
It is seen that relationship between the individual and port regions is very complex. Senior (1982) showed that port's prosperity is linked with hinterlands; but hinterland is itself difficult to define it spatially. Regional and local transport systems also affect the cargo volumes through the ports. Most centrally located ports of Europe Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam are constructed with good transport links (roads, canals and rails) with other good communication sources (Cross, 1999). However when we look at the port system of UK, we find it different from the continental European Ports with the long and high traffic proportions. The situation in UK is different from these ports in central Europe; UK has no international gateway opportunity as it also lacks the land boundaries with the Europe's mainland. It is correct to say that UK has large number of ports distributed around the coast. Location and Port's relationships is complex. Individual factors like opening of new roads, terminal and major dock strikes affect the port throughout the figures and ports located at those places where the traffic rush is consistent take more traffic shares.
Bristol had been the center of small minority of UK in post war years. It was controlled by the Bristol City Council between the 1965 and 1990. Port fortune was ill-conceived by the building of the RPD container material. This terminal was constructed to attract the traffic but it imposed a large burden on the council. During this period many other factors were involved in decline of the Bristol port. UK entered into EU that resulted in the sharp switch of the traffic from west coast to east coast of UK. UK trade increased in Europe from 28% in 1972 to 60% in 1980.
Corridors and seaport gateways connect the hinterlands valued for the world economy and international trade. Multiple actors are involved to bring the goods form destinations and exporting the local goods to far away countries. The importance of these actors to complete their actions as corridor players is also explained. The key factor which is involved to increase the benefits for the maritime companies and other institutions are recognized (http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page).
Now we focus upon the factors which influence the prosperity of the ports. These factors include the site constraints, market potentials which limit the volumes of hinterlands of ports. Regional traffic helps for the long distance transshipments to local traffic. Both hinterland and foreland reinforce to each other. Reconciliation between foreland and hinterland may help to insure the competitiveness of maritime ranges. For the expansion of the port system land is required to promote the business for inward investors. When a site is chosen for the port construction the attractiveness of the site is kept before the decision. The supply of sites is taken into account along with other necessary requirements of local and regional economic clusters.
The situation of the roads and rails of Bristol Port requires more investment for the business expansion. People and freight movement towards the South West has a very significant impact on the UK's economy. Another important factor of congestion is that number of journeys in peak hours using the strategic networks. The congestion impacts negatively if timely steps are not taken. New entrants into the Port network system also impact the operational efficiency. By accommodating the new entrants the more competition results in increase of the profits and fair pricing.
Volume shift of container is another tool to measure the container shifts. Net shift zero signifies that port group or port have the same growth rate as overall port system. Growth in UK ports and Med port is behind the in last three observations while Baltic and Hamburg-Le Havre have shown the positive results of shift. Poor infrastructure development also impacts negatively the economic players of the market. The new investment on infrastructure development also impacts negatively on the existing network.
Geographers are interested in the development of the ports since the date back (Morgan, 1952). Bird (1963) formalized the Anyport model in United Kingdom. Transport technologies have been impacted by the scientific sense for the changing factors. It has enlarged the infrastructure and transport costs have come down (Hall et al., 2006). As we have discussed earlier about the port cities, it involves the relationship between the ports and its surrounding called port cities. The relationship of Port-City is observed to be developing differentially during the last half century.
Until well after the Second World War ports created cities, and big ports created big cities. Since then, however, the relationship has become more complex (Norcliffe et al, 1996).
Eighty percent of global trade is carried out by the maritime transport; it plays an important role to address the inherent issues. International maritime transport is contributing its role in climate changes factors like sea level rising and extreme weather resulting in increase in temperature. This rise in sea level and increase in temperature require the integration of the climate consideration into the top strategies of planning and transport system. The range and type of the magnitude vary according to the indigenous conditions, decisions and policies. Another concerning issue is the greenhouse gas emissions which requires urgent and concerted actions to control this factor.
During the 19th century cities of Midlands and North have grown but Bristol failed to become modernized. Bristol port development improved as containerization was introduced for the international freight. Major issue concerning the port-city development is the low opportunities of the jobs to local people or residents. Bristol also faces such concerns of the local people and also in Bath and North East Somerset. Customers are attracted by the strong global supply chain and transportation that is important for buying the decisions. Ports in the UK face the challenges of competitive position to attract the new business along with retaining the existing business. Shippers face the serious consequences of the port conditions, its future reliability, rails and road services. Security concerns are also increasing for the employees of the Port throughout the world. All these issues need to be solved for the economic growth of port owning companies or governments. Port strategy must be implemented with desirable results. All partners of the port system need to work together to maximize the opportunities and resolve the above mentioned issues.
In this paper the port system is defined by the different economists and policy makers. The common purpose of the port system is almost same as revealed by the different economists. Several factors contribute to influence the prosperity of port system in the world. We have explained these factors with key examples of the world's most famous ports. Our main focus has been remained on the ports in UK especially the Bristol port in UK. It is also told that how does the Bristol port of the UK contribute in the economic growth of country. It is also seen that how the impacting factors of port system influence the growth of international trade. The port city, its definition and role are also part of this paper.