Chapter 3: Maritime networks
Providing a vital link in world trade, global maritime logistics activities allow multinational manufacturers and retailers to sustain their international outsourcing activities. Rather than cover all aspects of the complex system of maritime logistics, attention is focused on containerization and specialized cellular container vessels. Since the 1980s their growth and span, rising productivity and declining freight rates, and continuous improvement in seamless door-to-door services have led to the restructuring of logistics networks, changes in port ranking, repositioning of local distribution centres and intervention of regulatory authorities. A new economic geography has emerged in which manufacturers and retailers, less constrained by the cost of transport, are able to extend their supply chains overseas, especially to take advantage of the growth in Asian-Pacific Rim economies. A series of issues are raised by the transformation wrought by the globalization of maritime logistics. How have truly global ocean shipping companies evolved to meet the clamour of multinational manufacturers and retailers for a one-stop shipping concept, which incorporates intermodal transport linking railway, road and waterway? How have local port authorities, given the high cost and constraints on constructing port facilities, responded to the technological and organizational changes required to accommodate the introduction of mega-size containerships and increasing competition from rival hub ports?
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