An empirical investigation of logistics infrastructure projects in emerging economies

Research paper by Francesco Parola, Jasmine Siu Lee Lam

Indexed on: 07 Sep '16Published on: 07 Sep '16Published in: Maritime Economics & Logistics


Public–private partnerships (PPPs) are considered to be an important mechanism for developing logistics infrastructures especially in emerging economies. As acknowledged, logistics infrastructures often imply multistage projects which impose strong financial and technical commitments to private firms, in the planning and construction phases, as well as in regular operations. Despite logistics infrastructures’ practical interest, however, academic literature has not provided in-depth analysis of certain important dimensions in the area of PPPs. Grounding on the assumptions of the Resource Dependence Theory (RDT), this study investigates the impact of financial and technical complexity of logistics infrastructures on the implementation of dependence-reducing strategies in PPP arrangements. The paper performs a large empirical investigation using multivariate multiple regression analysis. The sample from the Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI) dataset of the World Bank includes over 1300 projects involving private participations in logistics infrastructures of 85 developing countries, for a total investment of around 334 billion USD in the 1996–2013 period. The sample projects belong to major logistics and transport sectors such as ports, airports, roads, and railways. Information is confirmed and complemented by data derived from International Union of Railways, Airports Council International, Drewry Shipping Consultants, and International Association of Ports and Harbours. The results demonstrate the adoption of some dependence-reducing strategies in response to the financial and technical complexity of PPP projects, e.g., large number of private partners in the PPP project company, broad experience of the consortium members, and familiarity of investors with the host cultural area. Through the RTD theoretical lens, the paper advances knowledge on existing literature on PPP in logistics infrastructures and describes implications for both academics and practitioners.