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 seaports’growth, 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 means–end 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?