Security and Reliability of the Liner Container-Shipping Network


Since the events of 11 September 2001, more focus has been given to the role of seaports as critical nodes in the functioning and security of international shipping and logistics, with particular emphasis being placed on container ports and terminals. However, little or no work has addressed the robustness and the reliability of the container port network, be it at the level of terminal operating systems or at the level of international trade and logistics patterns. In this paper, ports and scheduled liner container ship services between West Europe and North America are modelled as the nodes and links of a global network. Following recent work in urban transportation, the properties of the network are examined in the context of complex network theory, with particular reference to error and attack robustness. Generic frameworks and a hypothetical case study are presented to identify points in the network where failure would lead to a wider collapse.