Title: The impact of changing market requirements on dock labour employment systems in northwest European seaports

Authors: Theo E. Notteboom

Addresses: China Institute of FTZ Supply Chain, Shanghai Maritime University, 1550 Haigang Avenue, Shanghai, 201306, China; Faculty of Law, Maritime Institute, Ghent University, Universiteitsstraat 4, 9000 Gent, Belgium; Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium; Antwerp Maritime Academy, Noordkasteel Oost 6, 2030 Antwerpen, Belgium

Abstract: This paper contributes to existing dock labour literature by presenting a market-driven perspective on the organisation of dock work in light of changing market requirements. We conceptualise how changing market requirements affect the characteristics and the design of dock labour employment systems in seaports. The demand for a high dock labour performance is decomposed into three underlying dimensions: labour productivity, cost efficiency and more qualitative factors such as labour flexibility and service delivery. The internal organisation of dock labour takes place within a wider setting of legal and social conditions and the state of technology. Using the conceptual framework, we analyse how terminal operators try to meet changing market requirements through the deployment of new technology and advances in dock labour organisation. We provide empirical evidence by zooming in on the evolution of dock labour arrangements and employment systems in a number of northwest European ports.

Keywords: dock labour; labour performance; productivity; Europe; market dynamics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2018.093457

International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, 2018 Vol.10 No.4, pp.429 - 454

Received: 02 Aug 2016
Accepted: 20 Jul 2017

Published online: 11 Jul 2018 *

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