The Scales of Analysis of Maritime Transportation
Maritime transportation addresses issues ranging across several
scales, from the port terminal to the global maritime transport system.
Each scale relates to a set of characteristics related to network
configuration and type of flows.
- Global. The largest scale of analysis is to
look at the global maritime transportation system, particularly
major ports, gateways and
transshipment hubs, the network configuration of maritime
(strategic passages) and the assets of global terminal
operators. Deep sea services illustrate the
configuration of specific maritime
segments by shipping lines in terms of ports of call, ships
allocated, frequency of services and cost structure.
- Regional. At the confluence between the
regional and global scales, the
maritime range is
where a group ports are sharing a common hinterland and
regulatory regime. This usually takes the form of a maritime
facade such as the Northern Range in Europe or the East Coast in
North America. Short sea shipping
and feeder services from transshipment hubs are regional forms
of maritime transportation.
- Local. Port clusters and hinterlands are
interacting between the local and regional scales. The Pearl
River delta or the
/ Scheldt delta are notable examples of port clusters.
Another important dimension of this scale is the port
hinterland, which is the market area from which a port draws its
customers. Containerization and
regionalization strategies have substantially expanded the
hinterland of many ports. The port itself is a
local unit of
analysis with the
terminal being fundamentally the smallest possible scale.