The relationship between ports and governments has changed profoundly over the past quarter of a century. Many governments have sought to extract themselves from the business of port operations and, in many cases, the provision of port services has devolved to local governments, communities or private management and administration. As such devolution implies a change in governance model, this trend raises questions about consequent performance. This issue examines the changed port management environment, focusing particularly on government policies such as devolution, regulatory reform and newly imposed governance models, all of which have exerted a significant influence over the nature of that changed environment. The issue is structured so as to first explore the devolution and port reform approaches for 14 countries or regions, before examining how ports are governed and what the choice of governance might mean for their performance. Part I introduces the issue, and provides a framework for defining the basic concepts involved in devolution; it paints a picture of the current port environment, its likely future evolution and the expected impact this will have on the functioning of ports. Part II examines the port industry in 14 countries or administrations, and presents the thinking behind any devolution programs that have been implemented. Part III focuses on port governance and devolution generally, and examines governance from both strategic management and economics perspectives, including topics such as governance models, supranational governance and stakeholder conflict. Part IV examines the measurement of port performance and closes by providing conclusions and a future research agenda. This issue will be of interest to port managers, government officials and academics alike.