Based on your experience, what have been the most important impacts of connectivity? How can we best assess the impacts of connectivity?
In prior decades the focus was mainly on developing infrastructures and intermodalism, which were mutually self reinforcing. In my opinion, the container is likely to have been the major ‘global physical connector’ for the last half century. It is a transport unit purposefully designed to connect modes together. The outcome of containerization on the global economy were far reaching (ask China). The Liner Shipping Connectivity Index developed by UNCTAD (spearheaded by Jan Hoffmann) reflects well this containerized physical connectivity.
This form of connectivity can also be looked at from the lenses of the world’s main gateways. I have developed a simple index applied to an extensive dataset of global container and air cargo traffic. It assumes that connectivity is a proxi of comparative traffic.
Still, the world’s connectivity remains deeply shaped by basic geographical attributes with the main maritime bottlenecks important connectors.
The coming years are likely to further expand physical connectivity through its digitalization, leading to additional multiplying effects that physical infrastructure alone cannot achieve.