Containerized Logistics: From Dissociation to Reinsertion



Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Hofstra University


Containerization has had an enduring impact on the relationships between ports and their hinterlands. These relationships shifted in time with a dissociation in the earlier phases of containerization and the recent phase of reinsertion with port centric logistics. Historically, ports and adjacent areas had a pronounced maritime support function with a clearly defined port district composed of docks, piers, warehouses and other related activities.

These are usually referred as first tier logistics since they are directly related to the support of the port’s cargo transfer. Low mechanization levels implied the usage of a large workforce manually handling break bulk cargo. This was a time-consuming process with ships spending a large amount of time at ports; in many cases up to two thirds of their operational time. Directly adjacent to port districts were the second tier of port-centric logistics, which included warehouses, distribution centers, as well as manufacturing, commercial and financial districts. Inefficiencies in port operations…

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