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Strategic Maritime Chokepoints: Perspectives from the Global Shipping and Port Sectors

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Maritime Politics and Security book series (PSMPS)

Abstract

Strategic chokepoints are geographic constraints shaping sea routes and the global shipping industry and, therefore, create numerous business opportunities for those industries that support global shipping, including port operations, ship repair, bunkering, and ship brokering and chartering. Global shipping companies do not view maritime chokepoints as strategically important but rather as simply a geographic reality. In contrast, global port operators, bunkerers, ship repairers, and ship brokers and charterers view having a physical presence at maritime chokepoints as a competitive advantage because such waterways create a geographic concentration of global shipping. This chapter examines the importance of Eurasia’s southern maritime avenues through three case studies—the Malacca Straits, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Gibraltar—and concludes with an analysis of why strategic chokepoints are important to certain maritime industries but not others.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Martin Stopford , Maritime Economics (New York: Routledge, 2009).

  2. 2.

    Marc Levinson , The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger (Princeton University Press, 2006).

  3. 3.

    John H. Noer with David Gregory, Chokepoints: Maritime Economic Concerns in Southeast Asia (Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, 1996).

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    Donna J. Nincic , “Sea Lane Security and U.S. Maritime Trade: Chokepoints as Scarce Resources,” Chapter 8 in Sam J. Tangedi, ed., Globalization and Maritime Power (Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, 2002).

  5. 5.

    Daniel Y. Coulter, “Globalization of Maritime Commerce: The Rise of Hub Ports,” Chapter 7 in Sam J. Tangedi, ed., Globalization and Maritime Power (Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, 2002).

  6. 6.

    Rockford Weitz, “Lloyd’s of London as a Transnational Actor: Maritime Security Cooperation in the Malacca Straits since 9/11,” Ph.D. dissertation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, April 2008.

  7. 7.

    Top 50 World Container Ports, World Shipping Council, http://www.worldshipping.org/about-the-industry/global-trade/top-50-world-container-ports (accessed on 6/22/16).

  8. 8.

    “Algeciras Port Takes Lead in the Med,” World Maritime News, July 3, 2014, http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/129182/apm-terminals-algeciras-takes-lead-in-the-med/ (accessed 7/27/16).

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    Catherine Zara Raymond, “Peril in the Straits of Malacca,” The Standard, January 24, 2018.

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  11. 11.

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    Gal Luft and Anne Korin, “Terrorism Goes to Sea,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 83, No. 6, Nov./Dec. 2004, 67. See also Daniel Yergin and Michael Stoppard, “The Next Prize,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 82, No. 6, Nov./Dec. 2003, 107.

  14. 14.

    Maurice Harvey, Gibraltar (Kent: Hillman Printers, 1996), 16–23.

  15. 15.

    Don Ignacio Lopez de Ayala, translated by James Bell, The History of Gibraltar (London: William Pickering, 1945), 170; Harvey, 102.

  16. 16.

    Frederic Sayer, The History of Gibraltar and of its Political Relation to Events in Europe, 2nd Edition (London: Chapman and Hill, 1865), 490.

  17. 17.

    William G. F. Jackson, The Rock of the Gibraltarians: A History of Gibraltar (London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1987), 258; Graham Shields, Gibraltar (Oxford: Clio Press, 1987), xviii.

  18. 18.

    Harvey, 128.

  19. 19.

    George Hills, Rock of Contention: A History of Gibraltar (London: Robert Hale & Co., 1974), 387; H.W. Howes, The Story of Gibraltar (London: Philip & Tacey, 1946), 79.

  20. 20.

    Ernle Bradford, Gibraltar: The History of a Fortress (London: Granada Publishing Ltd., 1971), 189–190; Harvey, 151.

  21. 21.

    Tito Benady, The Royal Navy at Gibraltar (West Sussex: Priory Publications, 1993), 219.

  22. 22.

    Hills, 463–466.

  23. 23.

    Hills, 455–462.

  24. 24.

    D.S. Morris and R.H. Haigh, Britain, Spain and Gibraltar 1945–1990: The Eternal Triangle (London: Biddles Ltd., 1992), 140.

  25. 25.

    “Gibraltar: Partnership for Prosperity,” Foreign & Commonwealth Office (London, June 1999), http://www.fco.gov.uk/

  26. 26.

    “To Victor the Spoils,” The Economist (January 29, 2000).

  27. 27.

    “Algeciras Port Takes Lead in the Med,” World Maritime News, July 3, 2014, http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/129182/apm-terminals-algeciras-takes-lead-in-the-med/ (accessed 7/27/16).

  28. 28.

    D.A. Farnie, East and West of the Suez: The Suez Canal in History 1854–1956 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), 97.

  29. 29.

    Max E. Fletcher, “The Suez Canal and World Shipping, 1969–1914,” Journal of Economic History, Vol. 18, Issue 4 (December, 1958), 564–565.

  30. 30.

    Lord Kinross, Between Two Seas: The Creation of the Suez Canal (London: Camelot Press, 1968), 278.

  31. 31.

    Bengt Broms, The Legal Status of the Suez Canal (Helsinki: Vammala, 1961), 27.

  32. 32.

    Robert Matthews, “The Suez Canal Dispute: A Case Study in Peaceful Settlement,” International Organization, Vol. 21, Issue 1 (Winter, 1967), 81.

  33. 33.

    Farni, 632.

  34. 34.

    Hugh Schonfield, The Suez Canal in World Affairs (New York: Philosophical Library, 1953), 71–72.

  35. 35.

    John Pudney, Suez: De Lessep’s Canal (London: Dent & Sons, 1968), 220–222.

  36. 36.

    Hugh Schonfield, The Suez Canal in Peace and War 1896–1969 (London: Wood Westworth, 1969), 136–142.

  37. 37.

    Farni, 740–741.

  38. 38.

    Infrastructure: Suez Canal is to be Enlarged, Egypt Country Report (Economist Intelligence Unit, November 1, 2000).

  39. 39.

    “A bigger, better Suez Canal,” The Economist, August 8, 2015, http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21660555-it-necessary-bigger-better-suez-canal

  40. 40.

    Calculated from container throughput statistics available from Port Said website (http://scct.com.eg/) and Suez Canal Authority website (http://www.suezcanal.gov.eg/TRstatHistory.aspx?reportId=8)

  41. 41.

    Martin Stopford, “Defining the Future of Shipping Markets,” Clarksons Research Studies (October 2, 2000), http://212.113.29.196/research/

  42. 42.

    “What Does a Shipbroker Do?” Wake Marine. http://wakemarine.co.uk/what-does-a-ship-broker-do/

  43. 43.

    “Offices.” Clarksons. http://www.clarksons.com/offices/

  44. 44.

    “6 Countries are Responsible for Almost 60% of All Bunker Sales.” Ship and Bunker. http://shipandbunker.com/news/world/608701-6-countries-are-responsible-for-almost-60-of-all-bunker-sales

  45. 45.

    A.T. Mahan, The Problem of Asia and its Effect upon International Policies (London: Little Brown and Company, 1900), 72.

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Weitz, R. (2018). Strategic Maritime Chokepoints: Perspectives from the Global Shipping and Port Sectors. In: Gresh, G.F. (eds) Eurasia’s Maritime Rise and Global Security. Palgrave Studies in Maritime Politics and Security. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71806-4_2

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