This paper proposes a continental approach to the combination of transport functions within European port cities.

It reviews a number of concepts and theories, regarding with transport chain integration and urban centrality in the case of ports. While many studies on intermodalism face a lack of quantifiable data, this research proposes an original methodology based on employment. The data is collected for 76 port cities, 9,000 companies and more than one million employees in all transport modes. By bringing together employment figures and basic urban and port indicators, results of the factor analysis show the different functional and spatial trends. There is a recurrent opposition between freight and passenger-oriented specializations among port cities, which are also influenced by the European core-periphery spatial pattern. In addition, a benchmarking of port cities in terms of their intermodal potentials is provided as a means for policy implications.

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