The position of Europe in maritime flows is demonstrated by the connections of its port gateways with the rest of the world. Such connections vary from one port to another in terms of traffic concentration and geographic coverage, dependent on multiple factors including origin-destination time and cost factors, shipper and ocean carrier decisions, and the size, quality, and specialization of local port infrastructures. A key research challenge is therefore to unravel the relationships between internal and external dynamics; in other words, how do the emergence and position of European maritime flows interplay with the distribution of its port system and how have such patterns been influenced by the evolution of other regions, such as Asia, where port dynamics are profound and rapid.
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