Dry port network model: Best practices in the EU with notes from the USA

Antonio Pratelli, Ron Van Duin, Reginald Souleyrette, Beatrice Bianchini, Danilo Marigo, Lorenzo Brocchini, Wang Teng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The modern distribution of goods is highly complex, as it supports a closely linked globalized world. In the development of port terminals, competition is no longer only at the level of services. The increase in maritime transport and demand/supply in the hinterlands, with ensuing problems of capacity, distribution and movement, have called for renewed attention on adequate structures and infrastructures. This evolution, enabled by technology, commercial interests and public policies, can be considered as a stage in the ongoing development of containerization and intermodal transport. At this stage, it is important to consider port terminals and maritime navigation networks as a system, together with terrestrial goods transport. Increasingly, regions are developing so-called dry or inland ports, to better serve the demand. We set out to define a sustainable model for dry ports, beginning with a review of relevant literature focused on Italian, Dutch and selected USA examples. We first define dry port, in the context of intermodal transport, ports in general and inland ports. Our investigation led to the identification of management tools and best practices. We report on visits and interviews to selected inland ports and identify key dry port activities, applications of innovative technologies and implications for different modes of transport. For the three countries studied, we identify strengths and weaknesses related to infrastructure, structures, internal organization of yard, types of imported and exported goods, transport methods and related travel times and costs. In regards to resilience and sustainability, vulnerabilities such as congestion, climate issues and cyber-attacks are considered. Finally, a maturity model for assessing dry ports is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-230
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Transport Development and Integration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 23 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 WIT Press.


  • Container traffic
  • Dry ports
  • Europe
  • Freight village
  • Inland container terminal
  • Italy
  • Maritime hinterland
  • The Netherlands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation


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