Disruptions in Spatial Networks: a Comparative Study of Major Shocks Affecting Ports and Shipping Patterns

  • Laure Rousset
  • César DucruetEmail author


In this research, the effect of local exogenous shocks on seaports and maritime networks is assessed throughout three case-studies. The Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, the 9/11 World Trade Center attack and hurricane Katrina triggered a shock on Kobe, New York and New Orleans respectively and led to temporary port failures. A global database on vessel movements is computed to gauge the intensity, duration and scope of these shocks with descriptive statistics. Port-centered analyses of the disrupted ports and their geographic as well as topological neighbors are conducted to assess the resilience of local port systems using traffic volumes, distances, and graph-theoretical methods at various time scales, from daily to yearly evolutions. Main results demonstrate certain similarities between the three cases given the importance of traffic specialization and of the spatial range of disruption.


Complex networks Disruption Graph theory Kobe Maritime transport Natural disaster New Orleans New York Port Shipping network Shock Targeted attack 



The authors thank Justin Berli for his support on maritime distance calculation. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement n. [313847] “World Seastems”.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département des Sciences SocialesEcole Nationale Supérieure (ENS)LyonFrance
  2. 2.Délégation Régionale DR05Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)MeudonFrance

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