A strategic network choice model for global container flows : specification, estimation and application
Institute for Transport en Maritime Management (ITMMA)
Journal of transport geography. - London
, p. 1163-1172
University of Antwerp
Container flows have been booming for decades. Expectations for the 21st century are less certain due to changes in climate and energy policy, increasing congestion and increased mobility of production factors. This paper presents a strategic model for the movement of containers on a global scale in order to analyse possible shifts in future container transport demand and the impacts of transport policies thereon. The model predicts yearly container flows over the worlds shipping routes and passing through 437 container ports around the world, based on trade information to and from all countries, taking into account more than 800 maritime container liner services. The model includes import, export and transhipment flows of containers at ports, as well as hinterland flows. The model was calibrated against observed data and is able to reproduce port throughput statistics rather accurately. The paper also introduces a scenario analysis to understand the impact of future, uncertain developments in container flows on port throughput. The scenarios include the effects of slow steaming, an increase in land based shipping costs and an increased use of large scale infrastructures such as the Trans-Siberian rail line and the opening of Arctic shipping routes. These scenarios provide an indication of the uncertainty on the expected port throughputs, with a particular focus on the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.