Disputation: Axel Merkel

Axel Merkel will be defending the thesis “Container port infrastructure in the European Union: Inter-port competition, investment appraisal and the measurement of efficiency” for the PhD degree in Logistics at Molde University College.

Picture of Axel Merkel

PhD Candidate Axel Merkel.

Time and place:

  • Trial Lecture: Tuesday, 10. September, 10.15, room A-1.025
  • PhD Defence: Tuesday, 10. September, 12.15, room A-1.025

Trial Lecture Title:

“Port policies and European short sea/feeder shipping’s competitiveness. To what extent could port development contribute to a modal shift?” 

Adjudication committee:

Chair of defence:

Professor Svein Bråthen, Molde University College, Faculty of Logistics


Professor Johan Holmgren, Molde University College, Faculty of Logistics

About the thesis:
This work is about competition and efficiency in the European container port sector. This is an important sector of the economy, which has been caught up in dramatic change during the past few decades. The changing structure of the container ship fleet has put an increased premium on the capacity of ports to handle large vessels, leading to changes in the flows of maritime traffic and increased pressure on authorities to invest in the right infrastructure. A central focus of the dissertation, which is composed of four individual articles, is on uncovering how the intensity of competition between ports varies geographically and how this in turn affects the performance of ports. A second question is to what extent infrastructure investments allowing for larger container vessels affect the local economy of a port region. The results indicate that there are differences in the extent to which ports are exposed to competition, and this does indeed affect the degree to which we can expect port services to be performed efficiently. It is also found that infrastructure improvements that accommodate larger sizes of container vessels have historically generated positive economic impacts for port regions. This work presents insights for policy makers and those tasked with evaluating maritime infrastructure improvements.

Improving the efficiency of maritime ports can potentially reduce the costs of maritime trade and contribute to a more sustainable distribution of freight transport, which is in line with EU objectives. This research identifies policy directions for improving port policy and aims to contribute to the state of efficiency measurement as an academic discipline. 

Axel Merkel (age 28) comes from Linköping, Sweden.  He holds a Bachelor of Economics and political sciences from Linköping University (2013) and a Master of Economics, also from Linköping University (2015).  Merkel has been employed as a scholarship holder at Molde University College during his PhD-studies.

Published Aug. 29, 2019 12:23 PM - Last modified Aug. 29, 2019 12:28 PM