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13 Corridors: A Typology of Global Logistics

By Maren Koehler and Ned Rossiter

1. Corridors Decide

Corridors optimize economy through efficiency. Corridors strive to conquer time by channelling movement within spatial constraints. Corridors connect zones. Corridors bundle infrastructure along axes to narrow space and accelerate time. Corridors establish channels or pipelines of movement that intensify logistical organization and its accompanying tensions and conflicts. Stable regulations, well-developed communications, efficient transport systems, and uniform software implementations are the basic requirements for establishing corridors. Yet corridors cross borders and negotiate variegated conditions of capitalism. Corridors string governance across gaps of knowledge and topography. Power vacates the office. Decisions are made in the corridor.

From the architectural design standards of hot and cold aisles in data centers separating airflows, to the dredging of ports for the unidirectional passage of post-Panamax ships circumnavigating the globe, the accumulation of capital is held together in heterogeneous ways by corridors. Global logistics industries are underscored by visions and technical processes of interoperability, yet the material manifestation of corridors points also to multiple fonts of incommensurability. A paradox emerges between the logistical imaginary of interlocking circuits of supply chain capitalism and the material instantiation of conflict and divergence manifest within the logistical form of corridors. Corridors stretch across a range of scales with discrete logics of governance special to logistical operations and technical systems. Charting a typology of corridor forms, this short catalogue of entries probes the corridor as a relational device enmeshed in historical and geopolitical settings.

Essay written in June–July 2021 for a special issue of New Geographies themed on “Corridors”, forthcoming in 2023. The full text of this essay can be found here.

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