Asian-Pacific Rim Logistics

Asian-Pacific Rim Logistics

Global Context and Local Policies

Peter J. Rimmer

Encompassing China, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, extending to Australasia and connecting with South Asia, the Asian-Pacific Rim forms the world’s most dynamic economic region. Comprehending the region’s logistical structure and its institutions are of pivotal importance for businesses, researchers and policy-makers.

Chapter 5: The network of networks

Peter J. Rimmer

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, business and management, operations management, economics and finance, asian economics, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Container shipping, airfreight, air passenger and telecommunications patterns display marked variations from each other. This is not entirely unexpected because their driving forces differ. Container shipping responds to the scarcity of resources; airfreight activity to the inclusion of speed in servicing dispersed production activities; air passengers to gross domestic product (GDP), income growth and, increasingly, to environmental concerns; and telecommunications to marked cultural differences. Nevertheless all manifestations are underpinned by the global hub-and-spoke system. As global hub-and-spoke networks allow for economies of scale by consolidating flows from a set of geographically dispersed services onto trunk connections within the hub, the system is the most economically viable arrangement for private interests and preferred to a mesh network topology in which each of the network’s nodes is interconnected with every other. Any disruptions in container shipping, air cargo, air passenger or telecommunications services due to a massive node failure have the potential to be economically and socially catastrophic for the supply chains of multinational manufacturers and retailers, and may have a significant spillover effect on second-tier cities (Grubesic and Murray, 2006; Grubesic and Matisziw, 2008). For example, an unexpected three-year shutdown of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in the United States ‘would reduce real (inflation-adjusted) GDP by between 0.35 per cent and 0.55 per cent, or $45 billion to $75 billion, per year.

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