International Trade

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1. Introduction
The escalating liberalization of international trade that occurred during the decades following World War II under the impulse of various multilateral agreements and organizations has brought about a dramatic change in the geographic scope of logistics and freight transportation systems. While new trade ties have emerged with East Asia, long-time trading partners such as the United States and European nations have also intensified their trade relationships, to the point that the European Union is the largest trading partner of the United States and this trade represents 4% of U.S. gross domestic product (BEA, 2010).
The intensification of long-haul trade routes has reinforced the critical role of seaports, as gateways to
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We look at competition and positioning of these ports with respect to shippers and their geographic location on the European continent. We separately consider their linkages with U.S. ports of entry; finally, we also look at port traffic from the angle of the types of commodity handled. Each analysis produces a functional space of European forwarding ports from one of the three perspectives. All three perspectives are also brought together in a synthetic analysis of inter-port competition.
Commodity flow databases constitute a rich and multidimensional data source, but this information will not be useful unless some rules and patterns are extracted from data in the form of functional space, for instance. Exploratory spatial data analysis methods play an increasing role in analyzing huge databases. It helps to understand, summarize, and classify the huge unorganized data, and, more importantly, provides new hypotheses about data that can be subsequently applied in spatial modeling. Multivariate statistical methods such as factor analysis, principle component analysis, multidimensional scaling, and self-organizing maps deal with data reduction and have been used effectively comprehend functional space, either implicitly or explicitly. Berry (1966) applied factor analysis approaches to identify India's salient commodity flow patterns. R-mode analysis identifies clusters of destination locations with similar profiles of incoming flows,
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