Seaports Activity (A)synchronicity, Trade Intensity and Business Cycle Convergence: A Panel Data Analysis
In the present paper we suggest and test a general model that aims to explain the determinants and the extent of parallel moving (i.e. the synchronization) of trading ports activities. The model adopts a macro-approach and its main constituents are a) the business cycle (GDP) convergence, b) the intensity of trade between the countries of origin and destination, and c) the variables associated to international shipping developments. The present study makes possible the identification of distinct influences on the link between a given country’s economic and port activities influences which can traced back mainly to macro policies. The elaboration of such determinants and their relationships contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of port throughput and facilitates infrastructure planning and strategic policy decision. The present paper’s conclusions feature a framework for modeling the relationship between ports and shipping activities. Panel data from European main ports for the period 1986-2010 were used for the empirical investigation and a dynamic panel GMM estimation technique was employed. Model simulations are conducted and provide evidence that an increase or decrease of port business cycle synchronization is a) attributed to the technical and structural characteristics of ports and, b) greatly influenced by the general macroeconomic environment.