Research Projects

Global South. Ports and Economic and Social Development (1850-2010) (2016-2019) (SPA)


The seaports have been considered as a key element in the develoment of countries, but have not always fulfilled the role expected; several  lines of thought believe that investments must be accompanied by efficient and inclusive institutions. The study of proposed cases can weigh the goodness of the policies implemented.


The theme of this project is therefore to analyze how ports have influenced the development of countries in the South Atlantic (Africa, America), since the mid 19th century to the early years of the 21st century, considering the port functions and how they changed over time. Maritime networks of regional and international dimension are articulated, linking the ports under study. These connections are part of the globalizing phenomena, and hence the title which has been adopted, agglutinating both geographical and conceptual connotations: the "Global South" has been characterized in geostrategic, economic and cultural terms.

The start of the project is placed on the years when the first port reform took place, linked to technological innovations in shipping and port construction. Its ending lies in early twenty-first century, with the changes fostered by new technologies in containerization and other techniques applied to navigation and port activities.


The project is structured around case studies, so that a set of significant ports,  with influence over their hinterlands in specific regions of the Middle and South Atlantic, have been selected. In Morocco, Safi and Casablanca and their relationship with the regions of the Kourigba and Marrakech; in Senegal, the region linked to the port of Dakar; in Brazil, the ports of the States of Rio and Bahia; in Venezuela, the port of Maracaibo and the state of the same name; island ports (Canary Islands and Cape Verde) are also studied,  as they are nodes of the lines that connect the two continents. Historically, these ports have been linked together by regional or international shipping lanes networks.

The interdisciplinary and relational nature of this project allows an overview of the studied port systems, as well as their influence on the development of their territories . 


Project ID: HAR2015-64044-R

Lenght: three years (2016-2018)

Main researcher: Miguel Suárez Bosa

Role played by Dr. Castillo: Researcher

Funding Institution: Ministry of Economy and Competitivity (Spain)

Budget: 39,000 euros

The Suez Canal Crisis of 1956-1957 and its Impact on the West African port system (2015-2017) (FINISHED)


The evolution of the West African port system shows different periods of expansion and crisis which have been linked to the development of the external trade and the global conjuncture. This project supported and granted by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria seeks to broaden an empirical analysis of the consequences of the first Suez Crisis on the regional port expansion which preluded the shipping revolution after the second half of the nineteenth century. Hence, it was the critical event that pushed the technical change with further implications on a global scale. 


Exploring historical archives with data on the West African ports, institutions, shipping lines, oral interviews and government statistics, this research project seek to develop a first approach for a long-term comparative perspective on these changes in several West African ports such as Dakar, Las Palmas and Casablanca.


Project ID: ULPGC2014-01

Lenght: two years (2016-2017)

Main researcher: Daniel Castillo Hidalgo

Research Team: Suárez Bosa, M.; Santana Pérez, J.M. and Santana Pérez G.

Funding Institution: University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain)

Budget: 5.200 euros