Due to increasing cargo traffic by sea transportation, shipping companies have focused on large container vessels and “Hub & Spoke” strategy for economy of scale. Thus, ports have struggled to concentrate on port development, port marketing, hinterland development, incentive policy, etc. However, it is necessary for ports to be aware of port service quality to take competitive advantage for port competition.
The purpose of this study is to suggest evaluation model of port service quality and find out causality of port service quality which affect customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. In this paper, we examined the impact of port service quality on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty based on suggested evaluation model. From 137 acceptable data from questionnaire survey responded by shipping companies calling to ports in Korea, we conduct factor analysis and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) using SPSS 15.0 and AMOS 7.0.
We establish 8 hypotheses based on SERVPERF in order to test correlation of 5 dimensions of port service, port service quality, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty. From the result of the hypothesis testing, we accept 6 hypotheses out of 8 with high Significance level and reject 2 hypotheses. Surprisingly, the result shows that customer satisfaction and port service quality do not affect customer loyalty in spite of high effect of port service on customer satisfaction. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that other factors (port charge, port location, hinterland, etc.) instead of port service quality are highly considered when shipping companies choose ports.
On the other hand, the result of direct, indirect & total effects analysis shows that all five port service dimensions have high indirect effects on customer loyalty via port service quality and customer satisfaction.
For additional analysis, Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) approach is used for strategy of port service. The result of IPA indicates that port’s performance of a contract, port workers’ skill, constant efforts for port development, etc., have high importance and low satisfaction. On the contrary, CIQ process, EDI performance, prompt cargo handling through check gate, notice about port situation, etc., have high satisfaction and low importance.
This research provides deep view of port service by analyzing effects of port service on port service quality, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty. Besides, IPA shows gaps between perceived service satisfaction and importance in order to help ports or port authorities to establish reasonable strategies.