The waves of containerization: shifts in global maritime transportation

This paper provides evidence of the cyclic behavior of containerization through an analysis of long, medium and short waves of container ports. The container, like any technical innovation, has a market and diffusion potential where a phase of maturity is eventually reached. Evidence from the global container port system suggests five successive major long waves of containerization with a shift of the momentum from advanced economies to developing economies, but also within developed and developing economies. While long, medium and short wave patterns have been clearly identified within the global container port system, these waves are simply illustrative of major macroeconomic, technological and sometimes political shifts within the global economy. They do not explain the causes, but simply the consequences in the distribution in traffic and growth (or decline). Yet, they provide strong evidence that containerization has a cyclic behavior illustrative of economic processes and that inflection points are eventually reached, marking the end of the diffusion of containerization in a specific port or port range. Future expectations about the growth of containerization thus need to be assessed within an economic cycle perspective instead of the rather linear perspectives in which containerization is generally considered.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: 26 p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01497673
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Institut Francais des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l'Aménagement et des Réseaux (IFSTTAR)
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Nov 7 2013 11:49AM