Shipping and Ports in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Technological Change and the Environment

Shipping and Ports in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Technological Change and the Environment

Shipping and Ports in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Technological Change and the Environment

Shipping and Ports in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Technological Change and the Environment

Synopsis

The rapid change of pace in the global economy and the importance of understanding the roles played by port and shipping systems in both enabling and responding to this economic dynamism provides the rationale for this new book.

Excerpt

The twentieth century was a period of transformation for ports and shipping. At the dawn of the last century, coal-fired ships were the norm; tramp steamers scoured the world for business; European-registered vessels dominated sea-borne commerce; ships of all kinds spent much time in port; ports themselves were labour-intensive; complex and extensive port communities were consequently distinctive elements of urban docklands; and concerns over the environmental impacts of ports and shipping were virtually non-existent. As the century progressed, each of these features changed, some steadily, others rapidly. Writing in 1981, the editors of Cityport Industrialisation reviewed this dynamism through the work of a wide range of shipping and port specialists, and speculated on the issues likely to be encountered towards the end of the century (Pinder and Hoyle 1981). More than two decades later, in the early years of the twenty-first century, this present volume provides an opportunity to build on that analysis. In doing so, attention is focused on three recurrent, interrelated and key contexts highlighted by the 1981 review: globalisation, technological change and the environment.

As we demonstrate, in the early 1980s the reciprocity between these contexts and the shipping and port systems was already evident. Globalisation, technology and the environment were impacting in many fundamental ways on maritime industries, and were in turn being shaped by feedback channels from the industries themselves (Figure 1.1). Yet while this was clear, the early 1980s was also a time of great uncertainty. Long-established assumptions had been shaken by economic crisis, to the extent that likely future interaction between the shipping and port systems, on the one hand, and globalisation, technology and the environment on the other, was now highly debatable. Against this background, important issues to be considered today are the questions of how this uncertainty was resolved, and how the outcomes contributed to radical developments that are currently reshaping the maritime and port industries of the new millennium.

To explore these questions, the contributions to this volume have been structured into three sections, each concerned primarily with one of the main

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