The Institute's PORT BENCHMARKING GROUP is a network of thought leaders from the global maritime logistics community who have come together to study and understand the paradigmatic shift in the nature of port management in the context of a globalized economy. Ports nowadays play an important role as members of a supply chain. In this role, the port is considered as part of a cluster of organizations in which different logistics and transport operators are involved in bringing value to the final consumers. In order to be successful, such channels need to achieve a higher degree of coordination and cooperation (DeSouza, Beresford and Pettit 2003). The determination of the parameters that encompass the extent of integration of ports/terminals in global supply chains has, therefore, become of great importance for ports.

The rise of globalization and increased transfer of goods between continents has presented a new series of challenges for port communities. The traditional role of ports in the wider supply chain context is undergoing considerable re-evaluation, meaning port authorities need to act decisively to meet the demands of a changing consumer base.

Increased competition in the marketplace, and the availability of plentiful routes to market for logistics operators, has impacted heavily on the influence of ports on the supply chain, which in turn has affected the performance of port authorities as key instigators within that supply chain.

With this in mind, the traditional port system is being replaced by a model that focuses on integrated thinking across all aspects of the port community; breaking free from the traditional 'silo' mentality to create an environment in which port authorities collaborate more effectively with the constituent elements of their community.

The global economic environment and the continued growth in international trade have given rise to a new breed of customer - including shipping companies, importers/exporters, terminal operators and logistics service providers - that demand optimum flexibility, efficiency and transparency in their dealings with ports, and expect coordination, communication and control amongst port stakeholders. Such customers perceived the port in a combined manner, with little differentiation among those individual stakeholders. In essence, a port is only as strong as its weakest link, and therefore its reputation depends on its ability to engage with its community, and develop a collaborative platform that best serves both its own needs and those of its customers.

Across the world, 'First Mover' port authorities and their communities have devised and developed a myriad of strategies and programs designed to deliver a seamless integrated logistics product to their customers. The Global Institute of Logistics seeks to foster the future development of these strategies.

Since 2003, the Global Institute of Logistics has developed a direct relationship with a diverse range of global port authorities and their communities - including 'First Movers', 'Thought Leaders' and 'Early Adopters' of strategic port logistics systems. In essence, communities committed to the 'Relay' rather than the 'Delay' of cargo.

The Institute is focused on identifying best practice and building international standards of excellence for port communities. Efficient, cost-effective port logistics are delivered through working in harmony, and by working closely with Port Authorities, the Institute seeks to foster communication across port communities at all levels on core local and international issues.

The Institute also acknowledges that Port Authorities are in a unique position, as facilitators of global trade development, to establish connections with other like-minded Port Authorities and their communities. The ability to 'think locally' and 'act globally' encourages collaboration both within individual ports and between the ports themselves, and is at the heart of what the Institute seeks to encourage.

The development of close links to Port Authorities and other maritime logistics organizations, and a deep understanding of the changing demands of the international logistics industry, has driven the evolution of the Container Port benchmarking group. Through the work of the group, the Institute will focus on facilitating the flow of knowledge, developing best practice initiatives and establishing international standards across the global port community, within individual ports themselves and for the port end user.

The Mission of the Container Port benchmarking group is to improve global logistics one port at a time.


Globalization means that more and more goods flow between continents and subsequently the traditional role of ports in the wider supply chain context is being subject to a process of radical review. In broad terms, the traditional port system is being replaced by a model which focuses on logistics service quality which in turn has brought the performance of ports and their communities into sharp focus.

Port customers, whether they are shipping companies, importers/exporters, terminal operators or logistics service providers, judge a port not on the basis of any one port stakeholder’s individual service – but rather in a combined way, as after all logistics is a combination service. In essence, the port is only as strong as its weakest link, and therefore its reputation depends on the level of Coordination, Communication and Control amongst port stakeholders.

Across the world “First Mover” Port Authorities and their communities alive to these new challenges have devised and developed a myriad of strategies and programs designed to deliver a seamless integrated logistics product to their customers. Since 2003 the Global Institute of Logistics has enjoyed a direct relationship with a diverse range of global port authorities and their communities, people and places that we have identified as First Movers, Thought Leaders and Early Adopters of the logistics model of port development. In essence, communities committed to the ‘Relay’ rather than the ‘Delay’ of cargo.

Researching the development of these port communities, identifying their best practices and, in some cases, building international standards of excellence around these experiences has been the work of the Institute for the last 12 years. Our research proves that great port logistics is delivered as a result of a combined effort from a diverse group of port stakeholders working in harmony. Furthermore, we have identified that the Port Authority is the natural leader of the port community, and the only agency independent and powerful enough to marshal these resources.

As a natural trade development agency, the Port Authority is also in the unique position to build bridges across the world with other like-minded Port Authorities and their communities. This combination of both acting locally and globally combines to provide the perfect maritime logistics support for the global supply chain. Our mission is to facilitate the flow of Knowledge, from port to port, inside the port and to the port end user.




Welcome to CHAINPORT

The Evolution of CHAINPORT can be traced back to the establishment of the Global Institute of Logistics in 2003

CHAINPORT has its genesis in the Institute's strategic decision 10 years ago to focus on maritime logistics and more particularly the container supply chain as our core research area.This was followed  by our decision in 2008 to champion the role of the Port Authority in the supply chain. It is our considered opinion and indeed that of a growing number of thought leaders, that the  Port under the direction of the Port Authority can add significant extra value to the global supply chain.

At first glance a port seems to be almost exclusively driven by the vessels which call and the terminal operators who discharge and load them and it’s easy to see why this is the case when most of our attention is constantly drawn to the brands which control these two aspects of port life, attention which is garnered through brand reinforcement through the media either through news or advertising, both of which feed off each other.

Port operation is far more complex and deserves to be better understood especially by cargo owners and port authorities, as much of the inefficiency’s in port is due to a myriad of other factors outside the control of both shipping line and terminal operator, much in the same way that the smooth running of an airport depends on much more than planes and ground handling.

To any impartial observer the port as a functional node in the chain presents the most complicated set of obstacles to be dealt with by import and export containers, the simple truth is that the junction box which is the port is made up of a diverse set of companies and organizations each with their own particular agendas, agendas not always necessarily driven by saving time or reducing cost.

Institutional Environment

Ports are quite literally a “law unto themselves” and indeed many Port Authorities come equipped with their own police force, a testament to the fact that a port is a border and represents an entrance or exit point to a sovereign territory. Against this backdrop its understandable how national and indeed international and global security will always take priority over supply chains and their timeliness.

Indeed the much vaunted 100% screening of all containers destined for the USA is still the stated objective of the Department of Homeland Security, some 11 years after it was first recommended in the wake of 9/11.

And of course Ports are excise collection points and are very much monitored and driven by members of the host governments tax collection agencies, again a group who’s priority is not necessarily the supply chain, but rather that imported goods be properly licensed, coded and their excise paid before making their way to the open market.

And the list goes on, you can add everything from veterinary inspection to health and safety for good measure and these are just the bureaucratic hoops that a container has to jump through, the more obvious obstacles are concerned with the physical movement of the boxes,

which even when efficiently discharged from a vessel (which has a 50% chance of being on schedule to begin with) are a long way from their point of consumption when neatly stacked in the container yard.

Whether it’s to a smaller vessel, barge or feeder service, the railhead, on or off dock or simply to a chassis there is much more work to be done before the port can truly say that it has done its job.

Logistics is an experience that cargo has en route from the point of production to consumption much like a holiday is an experience that a tourist has from leaving to returning home.

Holiday makers will admit that it only takes one bad experience over the course of the trip to ruin the whole experience, the same is true for cargo, it only takes one bad experience over the course of its journey to ruin the experience.

Holiday makers are comfortable navigating the ins and outs of transferring themselves to their local airport, they are a little less comfortable in the airport, generally speaking the flight throws up very few challenges, the real hard work begins when the flight touches down in the host country.

Now their familiarity with airports only has a small influence on their experience, they are now at the mercy of the eco system in to which they have entered, from here on in, it is the service and the efficiency of its delivery which will make or break the holiday experience.

The airport is not their final destination it’s merely a junction through which they must pass to get where they want to go, however the way in which it operates and how it connects to the final destination is of paramount importance to the holiday experience.

The same holds true for containers.

CHAINPORT has brought together a group of ports from around the world with shared vision and values to create a singular standardized port system fit for purpose in this era of globalization.

Read On

The World Port Strategy Forum (WPSF) is the annual meeting of the world's leading SISTER PORTS. The forum fosters the exchange of best practice and strategy. Member ports are committed to developing a formal multilateral agreement under the brand name CHAINPORT.

The World Port Strategy Forum (WPSF) is the annual general meeting of the Port Authority members of the Institute and takes place each October in the Shenzhen.
The Forum provides members of the Institute from across the world to network and to hear a detailed report on the activities of the Institute for the previous 12 months.

In particular it is an opportunity to hear first hand presentations from thought leaders who have been identified by the Institute to share their experiences in that particular aspect of Port strategy.The Forum sets the agenda for the following years research program which in turn informs the activities of the Institute over the following year.

The theme for the 2015 edition of the forum is “The World’s Leading Port Authorities: Their Strategies and Case Studies"

WPSF 2015 Homepage


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