The container revolution in the last decades of the 20th century determined the arise of container ports. They further evolved in the so-called third-generation ports, becoming generators of value added due to the manipulation of goods in transit. The increase of value added in third-generation ports is amplified in core ports connected to TEN-T/RFC corridors, where Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and the three pillars of smartness (ICT, Transport and Energy) are present. The paper deals with time-series models for the estimation of economic impact of a SEZ in an underdeveloped region of EU. The test case is the Calabria region (Italy). SEZ in Calabria has its fulcrum in the industrial area close to the transhipment hub port of Gioia Tauro. The economic impacts of the SEZ were quantified through two variables: exports and employment of industrial firms settled in Calabria. The comparison of two scenarios (Do-Nothing scenario and SEZ) shows relevant positive impacts in the SEZ one. Future developments concern the calibration and validation of multi-variate time-series models from observations provided by worldwide SEZs.
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