Protection of Critical Waterborne Transport Infrastructures: An Economic Review

Olaf Jonkeren*, P. Rietveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It is essential that transport infrastructures are protected against events which cause their failure. At an optimal level of protection, the sum of protection costs and expected residual damages following from disruptions will be minimized. In most cases however, this optimal level is not achieved because infrastructure protection is susceptible to various market and government failures. This brings us to the question who (a private or public actor) should do how much (the level of protection and intervention). This question is addressed in the present paper. The starting point of the paper is the Directive of the European Council on the identification and designation of European Critical Infrastructures. We review the protection of critical waterborne transport infrastructures from an economic perspective. The review is based on a literature study and several interviews with Critical Infrastructure experts. For the studied infrastructures, we have identified causes and effects of their failure and examined the private–public roles in protecting them. Considering the market and government failures which occur in such configuration of roles, we propose several changes. We conclude that from a national policy perspective there are two important routes: (1) reinforcement of private sector roles among others by defining liabilities and providing information on risks and (2) strengthening of supra-national collaboration via improving and standardizing regulations, cost-sharing initiatives and penalty systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-453
Number of pages17
JournalTransport Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016


  • critical waterborne transport infrastructure
  • Europe
  • government failure
  • market failure
  • protection


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