V.  AIS big data application: new perspectives on international trade and economics

The goal for the special session 

The unprecedented details about the movement of ships brought by AIS data offer numerous possibilities to explore not only maritime economics but also international trade and economics in general. In the previous IAME 2020, we witnessed a significantly increased research enthusiasm in AIS data application. For the coming IAME 2021, we hope to further probe into the various applications of AIS data in the broader domain of international trade and economics.

 AIS data has effectively overcome the weakness of traditional economic and international trade data, such as low-release frequency or lack of enough public access. Recent research efforts have been made to construct high-frequency economic indicators using AIS data, for example, weekly port calls and commodity trade volume at a global level. These indicators make real-time monitoring and nowcasting world economic condition possible. Particularly under today's uncertain environment hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, effective assessment of the real-time economic activities enabled by AIS data will be of great benefit for disruption management and recovery planning. Such data granularity further offers new perspectives on investigating research problems related to international trade and economics, such as the impact of shocks on trade, search frictions in the shipping market, to name a few.


Contribution and potential topics

During the IAME2021 conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands, a special session is proposed on the theme of "AIS big data application: new perspectives on international trade and economics", exploring all relevant topics and issues of current and future research interests. We believe this special session will improve the digitalization in maritime industry and bring the research in shipping to a broader and superior platform. We would like to call for your contributions to this theme. Papers are invited (but not limited) to the following topics:

  • Trade and economic data generation and analysis using AIS, such as port call estimation, trade volume estimation, trade elasticity analysis, a combination of machine learning with AIS data
  • The role of geography in international trade
  • Event studies, like COVID-19 impact on shipping and international trade
  • Maritime infrastructure and economic development
  • Port competition and substitution
  • Search and matching behaviour in shipping
  • Fuel cost and efficiency analysis

For the Special Session, both original empirical and theoretical contributions are welcome, ensuring the high quality of research frameworks and strong research contributions. Cross-disciplinary papers are welcomed, as well as papers that investigate issues in specific regions around the world.


Dr. X. W. Bai

Tsinghua University


Dr. Dong Yang

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University