The Success and Failure of Port Governance - A Review of North Jakarta Ports After Two Decades of Governance Reform


  • Lisna Rahayu University of Groningen
  • Tim Busscher University of Groningen
  • Taede Tillema University of Groningen
  • Johan Woltjer University of Groningen


Port Governance, Governance Failure, Governance Reform, Container Dwell Time




This paper presents a review of the complex deliberation and negotiation processes embedded in practices of managing international ports. The dynamic transformation of port governance in the last several decades shows how port governance keeps reforming to find the most appropriate model and to avoid failure (Baltazar & Brooks, 2006; Debrie et al., 2013). However, transforming from one model to another, for example, through port devolution from mono to polycentric governance, does not guarantee failure-free. Practices of port governance have become an increasingly important field in transport planning. Studies about port governance have typically responded to questions over who governs port, what is governed, how is it governed, and for what is it governed (See, e.g., Vieira et al., 2014; Zhang et al., 2018., Zhang et al., 2019); however, little known why port governance can fail or success, for example in improving container dwell time.

This research aims to demonstrate how policy integration and inter-organizational coordination can influence the success and failure of port governance in improving a key transport- and logistics indicator: container dwell time, to ultimately gaining a better understanding of why port governance can succeed or fail. We select ports in North Jakarta as a case study with an argument that as the central key point in Indonesia’s maritime transport, ports in North Jakarta have experienced a governance reform in the last two decades, so we can compare its failure risk from two different governance settings. We capture the aspirations of the port operator, customs officers, regulator, forwarder, trucking company, and shipper through an in-depth interview.

Our qualitative analysis result shows that even after the governance transformation, port governance still faces governance failure risks. When governance transforms, the risk of failure dynamically follows. Stakeholders in port governance must be fully aware to see this challenge to be able to improve container dwell time at the port. This study offers an assessment framework for port governance performance and to know appropriate policy responses to be devised for improving success in port governance.


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Debrie, J., Lavaud-Letilleul, V. and Parola, F., 2013. Shaping port governance: the territorial trajectories of reform. Journal of Transport Geography, 27, pp.56-65.

Vieira, G.B.B., Kliemann Neto, F.J. and Amaral, F.G., 2014. Governance, governance models and port performance: A systematic review. Transport Reviews, 34(5), pp.645-662.

Zhang, Q., Geerlings, H., El Makhloufi, A. and Chen, S., 2018. Who governs and what is governed in port governance: A review study. Transport Policy, 64, pp.51-60.

Zhang, Q., Zheng, S., Geerlings, H. and El Makhloufi, A., 2019. Port governance revisited: How to govern and for what purpose?. Transport Policy, 77, pp.46-57.