Innovation and Port Logistics: Evidence on How Public Marine Terminals Prompt Unemployment Reductions in the Coast of Bolivar

44 Pages Posted: 21 May 2019

See all articles by Rafael Salas-Pérez

Rafael Salas-Pérez

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School; Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar

Date Written: December 30, 2018


Port terminals are at the centre of the whole international logistics chain and their performance influence the level of competitiveness of countries. Several authors consider that innovation is an important driver of efficiency within port facilities. In Colombia, terminals started a period of modernisation since the 1990s, which was enabled through government reforms aiming to bring high technology to the country. It is intriguing to examine whether terminals have actually contributed to the socioeconomic conditions of their vicinities in the country, particularly at the port city of Cartagena (PCC). Favourable patterns between socioeconomic indicators and cargo throughput were identified as increases in throughput occurred simultaneously with drops in departmental unemployment and monetary poverty. Also, regression analysis demonstrates that for the case of Colombian port cities, 1. Cargo throughput and appropriate education have a positive effect on employment and 2. Innovation is associated to higher cargo throughput, therefore, driving employment indirectly. However, while the relationship between throughput and unemployment was found to be negative, the total effect shown by the model seems marginal. To adopt a more practical approach, available data from the Cartagena Chamber of Commerce was used to analyse employment spillovers within the PCC. Results depict the multiplier role of terminals across the logistics chain at the PCC. Finally, a cross-sectional analysis using 2014 data of port cities from around the world was introduced to observe where the PCC stands relative to its peers in other countries. This exercise showed that there is potential to improve the benefits of terminals in terms of employment at the PCC, as comparable port cities exhibit better socioeconomic conditions with the same level of cargo throughput.

Keywords: port city, economic development, logistics chain, sea transport, cargo throughput

JEL Classification: F16, R41, R11, O14, O32, I25

Suggested Citation

Salas-Pérez, Rafael, Innovation and Port Logistics: Evidence on How Public Marine Terminals Prompt Unemployment Reductions in the Coast of Bolivar (December 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Rafael Salas-Pérez (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School ( email )

Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham, B15 2TY
United Kingdom
+57 3003023331 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://

Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar ( email )

Manga Calle del Bouquet
Campus de Ternera, Parque Industrial y Tecnológico
Cartagena, Bolívar
+57 3003023331 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics