Improving Port-Based Economic Development Marketing Websites

Author(s): Miller, C.; Kern, T.

River and seaports are important assets for regional economic development. Many industries need to be located in close proximity or with efficient transportation connections to ports. Therefore, ports are important site selection factors for industrial attraction. The industrial site selection process typically involves an initial web-based screening of potential locations by consultants or internal real estate teams. Those few communities or states that appear to meet the criteria based on their websites are sent a Request for Information (RFI) seeking specific information. There is a final screening based on the RFI information before economic development negotiations begin so to be successful in industrial attraction certain information needs to be on a port’s website or readily available. This research, which was part of the 2014 Mississippi Department of Transportation Statewide Port Needs and Marketing Assessment study, reviews the port related information requested from RFIs to compile a content analysis tool for evaluating port websites. Each of the 16 port websites in Mississippi and their associated economic development organization are evaluated using this checklist. Recommendations for marketing are developed that will improve industrial attraction and retention efforts by ports.

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