The dry port concept was first adopted in Europe and North America, followed by Asia, South America and then Africa. Since then, the development of inland cargo distribution facilities has been an active approach to support the hinterlands of maritime gateways among other functions. Dry ports can be developed in the hinterland based on different approaches, involving differing functions, actors, motivations and logistical models. They can be classified as close, mid-range or distant, with respect to the seaport. Dry port development can be carried out by port authorities, port terminal operators and transport providers such as third-party logistics providers or rail operators or by public bodies: local, national or regional. One of the design strategies for these facilities is rail-based which promotes economies of scale on high capacities and long distance links. The other strategy is the road-based short-distance satellite terminals aimed at decongesting the port or facilitating faster custom clearances. This paper carries out a comparative analysis of dry ports in China and the West African countries using a descriptive approach and providing case studies for each parameter used in the comparative study. This study is based on motivations for dry port development in these regions, as well as the development and management models applied in the dry port sector. In addition, a discussion on the merits and demerits of the management and development models applied on dry ports in these regions are also included in this study, from which conclusions and recommendations are drawn to support policy formulation and future studies. This paper not only serves to contribute to the existing academic knowledge on dry ports, but also provides the policy makers and practitioners in the logistics and trade sectors with an invaluable opportunity to compare the practices in the two regions for application to appropriate scenarios.
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