Through complex systems of logistics, commodities are moved overseas following a "just-in-time" logic. This panel extends the anthropological research on mobility by asking how a focus on maritime logistics, infrastructures and labour can contribute to our understandings of the global economy.
Through complex systems of logistics that support the global economy, commodities are moved overseas following a "just-in-time" logic. Taking place at critical intersections between sea and land, the power over actual logistical operations is negotiated at different levels between a range of actors; from powerful multinational shipping companies and local authorities, to the workers at sea and in ports who move the goods on a daily basis. This panel seeks to extend the anthropological research on mobility by asking how a focus on maritime logistics, infrastructures and labour can contribute to our current understandings of the global economy and its social challenges. While geographers have worked on these issues for decades, we aim to show how an anthropological take on maritime mobility offers unique insights into the sociocultural contexts that simultaneously affect and are affected by the circulation of commodities. The processes of commodity mobility are dependent on both "moving" and "settled" labour as well as intricate, and often unstable, maritime infrastructures and brokerage systems. With a comparative stance, this panel brings together ethnographic contributions from a range of geographical settings that approach maritime mobility of goods and the sociocultural dimensions and implications of global logistics. These include the building and maintenance of port infrastructures, new technology and automatization, shipping finance and brokerage, as well as the often precarious logistics labour of seafarers, dock- and transport workers.