Maritime Economics & Logistics

, Volume 10, Issue 1–2, pp 152–174 | Cite as

Containerisation, Box Logistics and Global Supply Chains: The Integration of Ports and Liner Shipping Networks

  • Theo Notteboom
  • Jean-Paul Rodrigue


In 2006, container shipping celebrated its 50th anniversary as an innovation that had a tremendous impact on the geography of production and distribution. Production became globalised by a better usage of comparative advantages while distribution systems were able to interact more efficiently. This paper analyses the mounting pressures on box logistics in light of global supply chains. It will be demonstrated that the basic principle of containerisation remained the same notwithstanding scale increases in vessels and terminals and a clear productivity increase in container handling. Although the container was an innovation initially applied for maritime transportation, the emergence of global supply chains has placed intense pressures to implement containerisation over inland freight distribution systems. Box – containerised – logistics is increasingly challenged to deal with the ever-increasing time, reliability and costs requirements of global supply chains. Imbalances in trade flows and accessibility and capacity constraints are among some of the developments that are making it increasingly difficult to reap the full benefits of containerisation.


Containerisation box logistics freight distribution global supply chains liner shipping hinterland transport 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theo Notteboom
    • 1
  • Jean-Paul Rodrigue
    • 2
  1. 1.ITMMA – University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Economics & GeographyHofstra University, HempsteadNew YorkUSA

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