Port performance evaluation and selection in the Physical Internet

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Maritime ports are an integral part of global trade and the supply network system. An upcoming paradigm for innovation in this system is that of the Physical Internet (PI). This highly advanced way of shipping will present a very different logistics environment with respective challenges for maritime ports. For those investing in or operating port systems, it is important to understand whether different service quality aspects will be important in this future system, compared to today. Our paper deals with the port performance evaluation and selection problem. Although it has been studied extensively in a contemporary context, there has been no exploration of the criteria and preferences of decision-makers in the future shipping environment of the PI. Our objective is to define these criteria and explore their weighting in this new context. We propose two distinct autonomous decision-makers for port performance evaluation and selection in the PI: intelligent containers and vessels. We identify future port performance evaluation and selection criteria, and analyse their weighting based on an expert survey, complementing the extant literature on port performance evaluation and selection and the PI. We use the Bayesian Best-Worst Method (BWM) to derive weights for the criteria. We find that, compared to the current port performance evaluation and selection literature, in a first stage in the modelling of intelligent agents’ performance preferences, subtle differences in weights mark the step from the present towards the PI. Partly, this is reassuring for port authorities as they can manage largely the same set of performance indicators to be attractive for both decision-makers. However, the results also show differences between agents, with an increased importance of, in particular, Level of Service, Network Interconnectivity, and Information Systems.