Assessing the objectives of dry ports: main issues, challenges and opportunities in Brazil

Author:Thiago de Almeida Rodrigues, Caroline Maria de Miranda Mota, Udechukwu Ojiako, Fikri Dweiri
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-10-2020-0386
Pages:237-261
Publication Date:19 Nov 2020
Assessing the objectives of dry
ports: main issues, challenges and
opportunities in Brazil
Thiago de Almeida Rodrigues
Management Engineering Department, Federal University of Pernambuco,
Recife, Brazil and
Management Engineering Department, University of Sharjah,
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Caroline Maria de Miranda Mota
Management Engineering Department, Federal University of Pernambuco,
Recife, Brazil, and
Udechukwu Ojiako and Fikri Dweiri
Management Engineering Department, University of Sharjah,
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Abstract
Purpose The purpose is to identify the main characteristics of dryports (DPs) in Brazil, discussing the role of
this logistic player, challenges and opportunities. Furthermore, this study provides a structured framework to
drive DP decision-makers, identifying and assessing a network of meansend objectives, which could be
replicable to other contexts.
Design/methodology/approach This article approached initially a literature review and exploratory
research to discuss the main characteristics of DPs in Brazil. The second step was to conduct a qualitative
analysis following the value-focused thinking (VFT) approach in two case studies in Pernambuco state to
assess the achievement of the main objectives.
Findings This article identified that the main characteristics of DPs in Brazil are offering additional services
with a cheaper storage cost, handling mainly import cargo and being connected to seaports through highways.
Moreover, this study resulted in a framework to assess the objectives of DPs, which could be replicable in other
contexts, improving the current operations of DPs.
Practical implications The framework to assess DPsobjectives bridged the gap between the literature
and the practiceworking as a tool to drive decision-makers to improve the current performance of DPs in Brazil.
Additionally, the main issues, challenges and opportunities discussed provide managers, policymakers and
DPs operators with valuable insights into this theme.
Originality/value This paper is the first study to present a framework to assess the objectives of DPs as a
valuable tool to drive decision-makers to improve DPs operations. From this study, lessons could be learned
and the process described could be replicable in other countries.
Keywords Decision-making, Maritime logistics, Performance measurement, Supply chain competences
Paper type Case study
1. Introduction
Developing a supply-chain infrastructure is one of the greatest challenges faced by
governments, trying to achieve an efficient logistic network, and organizations, which
worldwide strive to incorporate effective management into their existing competitive
strategies (Arora et al., 2016). As an option to improve the congestion in seaports, delays in the
Assessing the
objectives of
dry ports
237
The authors would like to thank the financial support from FACEPE (Fundaç~
ao de Amparo a Ci^
encia e
Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco) and CAPES (Coordenaç~
ao de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de
N
ıvel Superior). They would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers of the International Journal
of Logistics Management for their comments on earlier versions of this paper.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/0957-4093.htm
Received 30 January 2020
Revised 2 November 2020
Accepted 2 November 2020
The International Journal of
Logistics Management
Vol. 32 No. 1, 2021
pp. 237-261
© Emerald Publishing Limited
0957-4093
DOI 10.1108/IJLM-10-2020-0386
supply chain, reduction in transportation costs and environmental impact, dry ports (DPs)
have a key role to play in advancing port-hinterland connectivity, mitigating problems
caused by constraints related to land and others that limit seaportsgrowth, coordinating the
operation of the seaport supply chain and supporting regional economic development (Feng
et al., 2013;Roso and Lumsden, 2010).
DP was originally defined as an inland terminal to and from which shipping lines can issue
their bills of lading (UNCTAD, 1982), but the most widely used definition is that DP is an
inland intermodal terminal directly connected to seaport(s) with high-capacity transport
mean(s), where customers can leave/pick up their standardized units as if directly to a seaport
(Roso et al., 2009). However, as DPs exist in very different forms and arrangements under
different terms around the world, they differ in location, functionality, maturity level,
ownership and initiation processes (Khaslavskaya and Roso, 2020), making such definition a
complex issue. Consequently, more studies about the characteristics of DP operators around
the world will enrich the discussion on this subject.
The questfor logistics managementresearch is to evaluatecurrent and formerpractices and
provide guidance to practitioners and policymakers on what to do and how to act regarding
present and future challenges (Nilsson, 2019). While studies about DPs have become more
significantin the last ten years,the main research wasapplied in countries ofAsia, Europe and
NorthAmerica,coveringthemes asDP concept,networkperspective,economic,performanceand
environmental impact (Witte et al.,2019;Khaslavskaya an dRoso, 2 020).However, thisscenarioof
growthon DPresearch isnot the samein LatinAmerica,especiallyin Brazil,the largestcountry in
SouthAmerica with the seventh-largest nationaleconomy in the world.Only a few studies have
describedthe context ofDPs in Brazil over the pastyears, despitethe relevance of the countryto
the international trade market (Padilha and Ng, 2012;Ng et al.,2013;Rodrigues et al., 2020).
There are currently 56 DPs in Brazil (Economy Ministry, 2020), which have played a major
part in cargo operations. Morover, the trade balance has presented records in the past years,
and container handling has increased by almost 50% since 2010, positioning the country as
the most important container-handling economy in South America and the 20th largest in the
world (UNCTAD, 2019;ANTAQ, 2018). In the same direction, Pernambuco state, located in
Northeastern Brazil, outstands as the most relevant container hub in the region, with more
than 1,053 exporters and importers, handling more than 38% of the total volume in 2019
(ANTAQ, 2020;MDIC, 2020).
DPs have been implemented as an alternative solution to logistics challenges, resulting in
at least 37 benefits, as described by Khaslavskaya and Roso (2020). However, DP
implementation requires large investments and collaboration from many stakeholders as
investors, customers, government agencies, rail and road carriers, seaport operators and so
on, most of them with conflict of interests (Nguyen and Notteboom, 2016).
Despite the benefits that DPs could bring to the supply chain and the economic relevance
of Brazil to the international trade market, there is a lack of information on this subject in the
scientific literature as well in government regulatory reports in Brazil. To overcome these
issues, this study discusses the main characteristics, challenges and opportunities of DPs in
Brazil, providing relevant information and insights into it to improve logistics network.
Additionally, this article provides a structured framework to drive further DP decision-
making situations, identifying and assessing a network of meansend objectives through a
value-focused thinking (VFT) approach, applied in two case studies. In this way, this article
will answer three main research questions (RQ), as follows:
RQ1. What are the main characteristics of DPs in Brazil?
RQ2. What is the role of DPs in Brazil and how it could be assessed?
RQ3. What are the main issues, challenges and opportunities related to DPs in Brazil?
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