VI. Transport Policy

Maritime Technological Development and Transport Policy

The past five years have witnessed a significant increase in advanced technology-based decision analytics research. Digital technology can be a significant enabler of growth and innovation. For example, AIS data assists navigation safety and security; Blockchain enhances supply chain visibility and efficiency; maritime Internet of Things facilitates simplified administration. As impressive evidence, the unprecedented details about the movement of ships brought by technological development in shipping have 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 these individual ship data, for example, weekly port calls and commodity trade volume at a global level. These indicators make real-time monitoring and nowcasting world economic conditions possible.

Despite the numerous opportunities brought by advanced technologies, pitfalls may accompany them. For instance, automatization is challenged by cybersecurity; the mid and long-term costs and benefits of Blockchain application are unclear; the uneven technical capability between developing countries and developed economies causes system disharmony and service fragmentation. The success of advanced technology adoption in the maritime industry lies not only in transportation management improvement but also in supporting administrative policy formulation. Particularly under today's uncertain environment hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, practical assessment of the real-time economic activities enabled by shipping will benefit policy makings such as disruption management and recovery planning. Such data granularity further offers new perspectives on big data-based policy-making.

Undoubtedly, the maritime industry's technical development will be further expanded in the foreseeable future. The changing industry landscape powered by technology development also requires changing policies. In this regard, we welcome papers investigating how technology affects transport policies and vice-versa. We believe that this special issue can shed light on the extension of maritime technology research and enrich the transport policy literature.

Scope of the VSI:

In an era of rapid maritime technological development characterized by automation and digitization, digital technologies such as AIS and blockchain could facilitate transport policy-making using big data and decision analytics. Simultaneously, new transport policies are needed for emerging technologies like autonomous ships. The key research questions that this VSI intends to address include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How maritime technology affects transport policy, such as autonomous ships and changing policies
  • How maritime technology helps transport policy-making, e.g., big data analytics for policy-making
  • Trade and economic data generation and policy implications using AIS or machine learning and AIS combined method, such as port call estimation, trade volume estimation, trade elasticity analysis
  • Event studies, like COVID-19's impact on shipping and transport policies using high-frequency data
  • Maritime technological development and evolving transport policy development
  • Port competition, substitution, cooperation, and integration analysis using big data
  • The application of blockchain technology in the maritime industry and its associated challenges and opportunities for transport management

For the VSI, both original empirical and theoretical contributions are welcome, ensuring the high quality of research frameworks and vital research contributions. Cross-disciplinary papers and papers investigating issues in specific regions around the world are also welcomed. For more information, you can visit this link.

Timelines for the VSI:

  • Submission of abstract (up to 500 words) by email to the guest editor - on or before 31st Dec 2021
  • Submission of the full paper, as per JTRP author guidelines, by email to the guest editor - on or before 31st March 2022
  • The first round of offline reviews communicated to authors - on or before 31st Jul 2022
  • Submission of revised paper by email to the guest editor - on or before 31st Oct 2022
  • Submission of a revised paper to only to the system of JTRP after receiving guest editor's permission - on or before 31st Dec 2022
  • Final acceptance of papers – on or before 30th June 2023

Xiwen Bai
Tsinghua Univesity
Jasmine Siu Lee Lam
Nanyang Technological University
Dong Yang 
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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