University of St Andrews


Lucy Parsons


Supervisors: Dr Nicholas Hanley & Dr Eion McLaughlin


Research Title

The impact of ownership and management types of ports (private, trust or municipal) on their strategic value and economic impact on their hinterlands


The overarching investigation is into the role of ports as catalysts and enablers for revenue and wealth creation, as distinct from management for asset value.   Questions within this that are going to be covered in separate papers over the period of research:

  1. What are the catalytic or enabling effects and the economic impact of port development in the case of ports servicing principally offshore activity; fishing, oil and gas and offshore renewables?
  2. What are the differences in impact on a port hinterland of a port servicing offshore activity vs those that are primarily transport infrastructure enabling trade and travel between centres of population?  Are these differences reflected in public body interventions and governance?
  3. What is the practical impact of port ownership type, if any amongst all the other influencing factors, in terms of ability and inclination to provide enabling infrastructure and on the economic impact on their hinterlands.   If the success of an ownership type is to be judged on practical outcome rather than any political or ethical grounds, is it possible to design mechanisms that enable the transfer of the assets between ownership models should any one become dysfunctional in delivering the best outcome?


Freelance consultant for the last nine years, mainly in Scotland, I’ve worked for Scottish Enterprise, Forth Ports, Orkney Islands Council and Marine Services, The Crown Estate, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Big Blue Stuff, The Princes Trust for the Built Environment, Babcock Marine, Abengoa, Vattenfall, Aquamarine, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Narec Capital and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.  This has been on projects mainly around proposed port infrastructure and offshore energy contributing project management, research and analysis, stakeholder management, feasibility assessments and problem solving and strategy. Often working for consortia or JVs and reporting to collective boards.  Previously worked as an insurance broker in the City with Sedgewick and then Marsh in marine, energy and infrastructure markets specialising in project finance and risk arbitration. Also worked in shipping finance for Inchcape.  Originally read Jurisprudence at Oxford.