Globalized Maritime Transport and the Concept of Virtual Border

Special Report: Networks and Borders: Geopolitics (II)
By Jacques Marcadon


Maritime exchanges, which amounted to about 6.7 billion tons of goods shipped in 2004, lie at the core of the globalization process. For several decades, to spare transport time and hence lower global transport cost, the trend has been to facilitate the circulation of goods by reducing checks and stops at frontier boundaries. But, since the attacks on 11 September 2001 and the increase of terrorist risks, safety considerations are getting more and more important, with the set up of state protective measures. It is particularly the case in the USA where the enshrining of the country behind national boundaries has become a priority, leading to the creation of “virtua” frontiers. Frontiers are checki lines for people and goods. The idea of the virtual frontier concept is to move these checks upstream from the classical frontiers with the creation of a world network of checkpoints, particularly in overseas ports.
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