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The maritime world in historical perspective

The maritime world in historical perspective

Palmer, Sarah (2011) The maritime world in historical perspective. International Journal of Maritime History, XXIII (1). ISSN 0843-8714

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This article is a revised version of the University of Liverpool Peter Davies Annual Lecture, given by the author in 2010. It identifies the principal ways in which human beings have used, and continue to use, the oceans. Transport, trade, defence, leisure and marine resources all continue to feature. Two later- twentieth-century developments, globalization and containerization, are considered. Long international, maritime business has become truly global, with the replacement of national flags by ‘flags of convenience’ and a global market for maritime labour. These developments represent a break with the past. Containerisation is compared with the transition from sail to steam. There was a marked contrast in the pace of transition and technological complexity, although both required high levels of investment and new port infrastructure. An innovation aimed at reduction of cargo-handling costs and part of a multimodal logistics system, containerization substantially reduced the demand for waterfront labour so had a marked social impact.
It is concluded that, despite these recent changes, the degree of novelty should not be overemphasised. There remains much that connects today’s maritime world with the past.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: maritime history, globalization, containerization, seafarers, shipping
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Pre-2014 Departments: Greenwich Maritime Institute
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Last Modified: 27 Mar 2017 09:32

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