The course provides both theoretical and practical knowledge on the geopolitics of transport and logistics. In fact, the term geopolitics of transport is often associated with the set of logistical strategies implemented by sovereign states on the one hand to protect their procurement interests and on the other to safeguard / increase their economic and security advantages deriving from convenient access. to raw materials and / or outlet markets for final goods.

The course describes the geopolitics of transport and logistics in a simpler but, at the same time, broader way. In fact, by geopolitics of transport and logistics we mean the study of transport systems considered as political facts as they are capable of influencing the geographical space and those who inhabit it. This notion implicitly includes a broad spectrum of actors, including: public institutions, individuals / users, non-governmental or private organizations, whether they are carriers or rather beneficiary companies that rely on the mobility of people and goods to operate. From this perspective, therefore, the understanding of the geopolitics of transport starts from the observation that any transport initiative represents a potential object of disagreement between groups / individuals who may benefit or suffer costs if the initiative is implemented or not. The course aims to provide the conceptual tools necessary to grasp, analyze and critically reflect on the implications that intervention policies in the logistics and transport sector can have on economic development, environmental protection, safety and social equity. This objective is pursued by clarifying on the one hand the issues strictly connected to the geopolitical implications interventions can have on different territorial scales and, on the other hand, by providing the tools of economic and geographical analysis that can allow the student to understand, analyze and evaluate, in theoretically rigorous and correct way, the concrete implications of interventions whose effects, manifesting themselves within a complex and articulated network of networks, infrastructures and services, it is not easy to determine.

Students, also thanks to an active participation in the course through: 1) critical discussions, 2) structured bibliographic research; 3) drafting of short documents, 4) public presentations, will learn both to deal rigorously with the study of complex issues, such as those described above, and soft skills also useful for professional purposes.
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The course is divided into three parts.

The first part deals with issues specifically related to: 1) transport and possible causes of conflict, 2) geopolitics from global to local and vice versa, 3) political control of mobility. In fact, it is fascinating to reflect on how many stakeholders may be interested by a simple transport initiative, even if it only concerns the modification of the conditions of access to a restricted traffic area of a city, even if it is small and remote. Here we will ask, for example, how to decode the sources of the geographical and political tensions linked to interventions in the transport sector? How to grasp the political dynamics of the mobility of people and goods in the geographical space? How should we analyze, study and understand the often-conflicting positions of the different actors, their particular vision of the intervention in question, their ability to influence the final result?

In the second part, however, the issues related to the mobility of passengers and goods will be investigated to understand the fundamental role they play in explaining economic and social activities such as, among other things, commuting, production, distribution of goods. or energy supplies. Indeed, every movement has a purpose, an origin, a potential set of intermediate positions and a destination. Mobility is supported and guided by transport systems composed of infrastructures, modalities and terminals allowing individuals, institutions, companies, regions, and nations to interact allowing the development of economic, social, cultural, or political activities. Understanding how mobility is related to the geography of transport is the main aim of this part of the course. In particular, the following topics will be explored: 1) interrelation between transport and geography by asking ourselves what is the geography of transport? What is the relationship between transport and the physical environment? What are the implications of the emergence of mechanized transport systems? What are the main characteristics of global transport systems? What relationship exists between transport and commercial geography; 2) relationship between transport and spatial structure reflecting on the geography of transport networks, on transport and organization of the territory, on the relationship between transport and location as well as on the impact that information technologies have on mobility; 3) interaction between transport, economy and society, deepening the issues related to the relationship between transport and economic development, transport and society, analysis of transport costs, analysis of the supply and demand for transport services.

In the third part, the issues previously studied and discussed will be integrated through the study of specific cases that serve to integrate the first and second part, verifying their applicability and implications to specific cases such as, for example: 1) belt and road initiative, 2 ) TEN-T, 3) arctic logistics; 4) covid and supply chain resilience. In this part, the students, working in groups and under the supervision of the teacher, will develop the analysis of a case study whose results will be organized within a research report, subject to evaluation, whose summary will be presented in class to encourage a critical discussion of the analysis carried out.

Core Documentation

Luc Ampleman, Transport Geopolitics. Decoding and Understanding Transport as a Source of Conflicts, Palgrave McMillan, 2021.


Marcucci E., Gatta V., Le Pira M. (2023). Handbook on City Logistics and Urban Freight. Edward Elgar, UK.

Jean-Paul Rodrigue, The Geography of Transport Systems, FIFTH EDITION, New York: Routledge, 2020.

Reference Bibliography

Marcucci E., Gatta V., Le Pira M. (2023). Handbook on City Logistics and Urban Freight. Edward Elgar, UK. Luc Ampleman, Transport Geopolitics. Decoding and Understanding Transport as a Source of Conflicts, Palgrave McMillan, 2021. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, The Geography of Transport Systems, FIFTH EDITION, New York: Routledge, 2020.

Type of delivery of the course

The course includes lectures (online if necessary). Participants will have to develop group research work on specific topics agreed with the teacher. All group members will also have to publicly present the results of their work in class.


Attendance at lessons, although not compulsory, is strongly recommended.

Type of evaluation

Attending students are assessed for: 1-active participation in class, 2- group project work, 3 - presentation of group project work in class, 4- final oral exam. Non-attending students must take an oral exam on the texts adopted.