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|Dynamics of liner shipping network and port connectivity in supply chain systems: Analysis on East Asia|
In: Journal of Transport Geography. Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford. ISSN 0966-6923; e-ISSN 1873-1236
Liner shipping; Shipping network; Port connectivity; Supply chain; Container shipping; East Asia
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The study of ports in supply chain systems is an emerging area of importance which has drawn more attention from researchers in recent years. This paper presents a new perspective in this research area by examining the calling patterns of container shipping services in order to understand the dynamics of port connectivity and inter-port relationships in the supply chains. Empirical evidence is drawn from four major ports in East Asia, namely Shanghai, Busan, Kaohsiung and Ningbo. The study identifies the shipping capacity, trade routes and geographical regions connected to the ports, shipping lines involved, and the extensity and intensity of inter-port relationships among the four container ports from liner shipping network’s perspective. The findings show that most of the shipping capacity employed on the major east–west trade routes became non-exclusive and involved calls at two or more of the four ports. Port planners, terminal operators and carriers could capitalise on opportunities through exploitation of complementary relationships that exist among the selected ports, such as offering a package for shipping lines to call at a portfolio of terminals owned by the same terminal operator. Policy and research implications as well as recommendations are discussed for various stakeholders concerned with port planning and regional development.