Topics: Ship, Cargo, Cargo ship Pages: 12 (4401 words) Published: March 13, 2013
Maritime Transportation Authors: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Dr. Theo Notteboom and Dr. Brian Slack 1. Maritime Routes From its modest origins as Egyptian coastal sailships around 3,200 BC, maritime transportation has always been the dominant support of global trade. By 1,200 BC Egyptian ships traded as far as Sumatra, representing one of the longest maritime route of that time. European colonial powers, mainly Spain, Portugal, England, the Netherland and France would be the first to establish a true global maritime trade network. With the development of the steam engine in the mid 19th century, this role expanded considerably as ships were no longer subject to dominant wind patterns. This long term attribute has been reinforced by recent trends where changes in international trade and seaborne trade are interrelated. Maritime transportation, like all transportation, is a derived demand. As of 2006, seaborne trade accounted for 89.6% of global trade in terms of volume and 70.1% in terms of value. Maritime shipping is one of the most globalized industries in terms of ownership and operations. Maritime transportation, similar to land and air modes, operates on its own space, which is at the same time geographical by its physical attributes, strategic by its control and commercial by its usage. While geographical considerations tend to be constant in time, strategic and especially commercial considerations are much more dynamic. The physiography of maritime transportation is composed of two major elements, which are rivers and oceans. Although they are connected, each represents a specific domain of maritime circulation. The notion of maritime transportation rests on the existence of regular itineraries, better known as maritime routes. Maritime routes. Corridors of a few kilometers in width trying to avoid the discontinuities of land transport by linking ports, the main elements of the maritime / land interface. Maritime routes are a function of obligatory points of passage, which are strategic places, of physical constraints (coasts, winds, marine currents, depth, reefs, ice) and of political borders. As a result, maritime routes draw arcs on the earth water surface as intercontinental maritime transportation tries to follow the great circle distance. The most recent technological transformations affecting water transport have focused on modifying water canals (such as dredging port channels to higher depths), and on increasing the size, the automation and the specialization of vessels (e.g. container ships, tanker, bulk carrier). These transformations partially explain the development of a maritime traffic that has been adapting to increasing energy demand (mainly fossil fuels), the movements of raw materials and the location of major grain markets. Yet, this process is not uniform and various level of connectivity to global shipping networks are being observed. This massification of transport into regular flows over long distances is not without consequences when accidents affecting oil tankers can lead to major ecological disasters (e.g. Amoco Cadiz, Exxon Valdez). Fluvial transportation, even if slow and inflexible, offers a high capacity and a continuous flow. The fluvial / land interface often relies less on transshipment infrastructures and is thus more permissive for the location of dependent activities. Ports are less relevant to fluvial transportation but fluvial hub centers experiences a growing integration with maritime and land transportation, notably with containerization. The degree of integration for fluvial transportation varies from totally isolated distribution systems to well integrated ones. In regions well supplied by hydrographic networks, fluvial transportation can be a privileged mode of shipment between economic activities. In fact, several industrial regions have emerged in along major fluvial axis. More recently, river-sea navigation is also providing a new dimension to fluvial transportation by...
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