1987 volume 19(5) pages 687 – 700

Cite as:
O'Connor K, 1987, "The location of services involved with international trade" Environment and Planning A 19(5) 687 – 700

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The location of services involved with international trade

K O'Connor

Received 3 July 1986; in revised form 9 October 1986

Abstract. Services that link buyer and seller across nations and continents have long been a part of city and port development, but have not attracted much research interest, perhaps because they remain (like their statistical record) `invisible'. Technical and structural change in the organisation of shipping, reflected largely in containerisation, have changed the context for these services and they have responded in a variety of ways. Data in this paper trace the location of a selection of these services in the USA and Australia, indicating a separation between services and negotiations on aspects of trade services, and new patterns of physical activity in trade. It is suggested that this separation may be facilitated by the standardisation that has come with containerisation, the importance of intercorporate linkages, the role of official markets, and the application of modern communication technology. These aspects account for the clustering of services in large cities and their separation from day-to-day trade business, and could provide insights for producer-service location in general. The paper indicates the need for survey work to test these ideas.

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