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About the project

The scientific focus of the activities of this network is reactions of ports and shipping to the Covid-19 pandemic that reshape the industry. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, many ports connected by global shipping experience major changes in spite of the fact that, during the pandemic, many countries have chosen lockdown of human domestic and international mobility, but insisted on the need for uninterrupted import and export of goods, 90 percent of which is shipped. Less than six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, health checks at ports, crews that cannot disembark or embark, and some ports being favored over others have already affected shipping. A global pandemic brings responses to globally interconnected challenges, which require consideration of a multitude of responses in concert. Therefore, the proposed network include new terrain in two ways: geographic span from Aarhus and Haifa to Kobe and across academic disciplines represented at three different maritime centers. The global dynamic of change in shipping over the past 75 years informs current responses and the port selection reflects the historical significance of the three ports in reshaping global shipping. By focusing on supply chains connecting ports and shipping globally, we initially combine approaches and theories from Deborah Cowen (2014) on the politicized dimensions of logistics and Hannah Appel’s (2019) theoretical approach to understand compartmentalization of responsibility at a global level, which we will apply to shipping industry and port management.


Three workshops to ensure a continuous and accumulative dialogue among the research partners. Three port visits to familiarize each other with the concrete contexts, characteristics, and connectivity of each place in order to ensure innovativeness and relevance of future collaboration.The two network activities offer two interlinked forms of exploration:

  • 1) academic exploration through framing inquiry based on the approaches and research interests in the maritime of the disciplines of anthropology, economics, engineering, gender studies, geography, history, and political studies,
  • and 2) empirical exploration of ports to meet local stakeholders in order to understand similarities and differences in the port contexts. The three port visits allow us to explore the significance of non-academic perspectives and considerations of practical concerns and knowledge. The expectation is that the experience of continuously negotiating differences in the port environment can help dislodge the national or regional focus prevalent in much research within the field. The choice of research partners in Haifa and Kobe as well as outside experts at their locations is key to our shared explorations.


Added value achieved by collaboration:

The main value of establishing this network is to begin to dislodge the research questions from national port or shipping line concerns and singular academic disciplines to explore questions posed at a super-national or even global level.

By combining not only different disciplines from different institutions in different parts of the world, but also the specific challenges of each port, the network allows us to find common ground and at the same time understand the dynamism of difference in the global shipping industry. It is the same vessels that navigate the different ports and the goods of supply chains depend on the connectivity regardless of difference. Knowledge of difference enlightens or enables the supply chains. Supply chains, by their very nature, include multiple localities of “here” and “there”, each link characterized by the expertise of its localized practitioners and their outlooks towards the elsewhere. The combined significance of the characteristics, product, and through-put of each chain exceeds the significance observable from the perspective of any single chain link. The same holds true for the research collaboration across disciplines.