Market Structure, Sustainability and Decision Making
Edited by Thomas Vanoutrive and Ann Verhetsel
Chapter 5: The functional spaces of major European forwarding ports: study of competition for trade bound to the United States
The escalating liberalization of international trade that occurred during the decades following the Second World War under the impulse of various multilateral agreements and organizations has brought about a fundamental change in the geographical scope of logistics and freight transportation systems. While new trade ties have emerged with East Asia, long-time trading partners such as the United States and European nations have also intensified their trade relationships, to the point that the European Union is the largest trading partner of the United States and this trade represents4 percent of US gross domestic product (BEA, 2010).The intensification of long-haul trade routes has reinforced the critical role of seaports, as gateways to economic spaces and as nodes on the global deep-sea liner shipping networks (Goss, 1990; Notteboom and Rodrigue,2007; Tongzon and Sawant, 2007). A countervailing force has been that shipping lines have now become dominant actors in world trade because they operate at the global scale and often have the option to route their services through one of multiple seaports (Slack, 1993). As Slack puts it,‘ no longer can ports expect to attract shipping lines because they are natural gateways to rich hinterlands’ (p. 581), and so it is with containerized freight shipping business.
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