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Spatial structuring of port-linked flows; The Port of Vancouver, Canada, 1965. Robinson, Ross

Abstract

This study first postulates the existence of an "operational" port, a nodal organization of port functions, defined in terms of inter-port shipping linkages of foreign trade shipping in Southwestern British Columbia. A number of variables for each foreign trade vessel is programmed into a series of port by port adjacency matrices. The set of ports (nodes) and ship movements (linkages) is regarded as a planar graph and real values assigned to both linkages and nodes. Through matrix analysis and network theoretic concepts, the connectivity and orientations of ports within the area are defined. The analysis reveals not only the dominance of the port of Vancouver but also the high degree of dependence of a number of adjacent ports upon it. Second, the relationship of the nodal status of a port to its location in a system of ports and to its operational role as a node between discrete transportation networks is demonstrated by an examination of the movement patterns of export lumber and general cargo imports through the port of Vancouver. Lumber movement patterns to shipping points, derived from computer analyses, reveal the significance of innovatory shipping technologies, together with other necessary conditions, as the basis of explanation of nodal status and network structuring. The movements of general cargo imports are examined in a series of data matrices computationally derived from Shipping Manifest data. Each matrix preserves the relationship between foreland origin; and hinterland destination and the analysis clearly demonstrates the correlation of hinterland limits with the foreland origin of flows. Third, the relationships between the principles of nodal structuring and the concept of port hierarchy in spatial theory are explored. The adequacy of an alternative concept of port hierarchy derived from an analysis of the network of shipping linkages between ports is postulated and a descriptive model of port network development in British Columbia is formulated.

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