Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Within less than a decade, containerization has revolutionized maritime general cargo transportation throughout major world trade routes, especially the trade routes between the Far East and the United States. Few commodity flow studies have focused on this latest innovation in maritime transport. To most of the rapidly developing state-owned Far East shipping industries, an understanding of container flow variation and port calling preference with U.S. seaports has become essential in order to maximize investments and to rationalize services. By applying 1974, 1977, and 1980 Far East/U.S. container flow data, this study intends to explore the non-physical and economic elements which might have influenced container flow variation. Three techniques were utilized in the study. First, a percentage share review provided a basic understanding of the succession and hierarchy of container flows throughout the U.S. seaports trading with the Far East. Second, a modified gravity model was applied to identify groups of variables which could explain the flow variation. And finally, residual value analyses examined the accuracy of estimation of container flows based on the regression equations. The findings showed that New York, Savannah, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Seattle were the five major ports handling Far East container throughputs, and adhered to the load-center concept. The finding also indicated that a single or a group of standard variables were unable to explain total variation, although a distance variable appeared regularly. Furthermore, the residual values analyses showed that the model served best for the Far East/U.S. Pacific container flow variation. A load-center concept has been suggested to shipping and port industries as a way to deal with the growing volume of container traffic. More accurate flow forecasting studies will be needed to enhance the confidence of the policy-making process for port authorities as well as for shipping companies to justify future investment.