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Brian Slack, PhD

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Geography, Planning and Environment

Brian Slack, PhD
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2050


PhD (McGill University, 1972)

Research interests

Maritime transport and intermodality

Research activities

Current research

Over the last few years my research has continued to focus on containershipping. At present I am exploring the relationships between containershipping networks and logistics and am collaborating with a colleague inFrance to assess the ability of intermediate hubs to attract logisticsactivities. My interests have also been turning to consider bulk shipping. Recently, I have been working on projects for Transport Canada ondeveloping performance indicators for Canadian bulk terminals, and onassessing the implications for Canadian bulk ports of the rapid upscalingin ship sizes in the world fleet.

Selected publications


  1. Franc, P., Gouvernal, E. and Slack, B. (2010). "Short sea and deep sea shipping markets in France". Journal of Transport Geography, 18, 97-103.
  2. Slack, B. (2010) "Battening down the hatches: how should maritime industries weather the economic tsunami?" Research in Transport Economics, 27, 4-9.
  3. Fremont, A., Franc, P. & Slack, B. (2009). "Inland Barge Services: the case of the ports of Le Havre and Marseille". Cybergeo, #437, 17pp.
  4. Slack, B and Fremont A. (2009) "Fifty Years of Organisational Change in Container Shipping and the Role of Family Firms". Geojournal, 74, 23-34.
  5. Comtois, C. and Slack,B. (2007) “Sustainable Development and the Corporate Strategies of the Maritime Industry”. ”. In J. Wang, D. Olivier, Th. Notteboom and B. Slack, (Eds) Ports, Cities and Global Supply Chains. (Aldershot: Ashgate),233-246.
  6. Slack, B.. (2007), “The Terminalisation of Seaports”. ”. In J. Wang, D. Olivier, Th. Notteboom and B. Slack, (Eds) Ports, Cities and Global Supply Chains. (Aldershot: Ashgate), 41-50.
  7. Slack, B. (2007) “At the crossroads: the Panama Canal and Containerized Trade”. In (ed) J. Guillaume Les Transports Maritimes dans la Mondialisation. (L’Harmattan : Paris). 79-89
  8. Bowen, J and Slack, B. (2007) “Shifting Modes and Spatial Flows in North American Freight Transportation”, In (eds) T. Leinbach and C. Capineri Globalized Freight Transport (Elgar: London).
  9. Slack, B. and Vogt, A (2007) “Challenges confronting new traction providers of rail freight in Germany”. Transport Reviews, 14, 399-409.
  10. Slack, B. and Comtois (2006-7) “Short Sea Shipping:The Need for a Realistic Assessment”. Quebec Studies, 42, 31-44.
  11. Olivier,D., Parola, F., Slack, B. and Wang,J.J. (2007) “ The Time Scale of Internationalisation: the Case of the Container Port Industry.” Maritime Economics and Logistics 9: 1-34.
  12. Olivier, D. and Slack, B. (2006) “Rethinking the Port”. Environment and Planning A, 38 1409 – 1427
  13. McCalla, R. , Slack, B., and Comtois, C. (2005) “The Caribbean Basin:adjusting to global trends in containerization”. Maritime Policy and Management. 32, 245-261.
  14. Slack, B. (2005) “Maritime Transport and Globalisation: evolving relationships”.Geotema , 22, 116-123.
  15. Gouvernal, E.,Debrie, J and Slack, B. (2005) ‘Dynamics of Change in the Port System of the Western Mediterranean” Maritime Policy and Management 32, 107-121
  16. Slack, B. (2004) Corporate realignment and the global imperatives of container shipping” in (eds) D. Pinder and B. Slack Transport in the Twenty-First Century. (Routledge:London) p 25-39.
  17. Pinder, D and Slack, B. (2004) “Contemporary concepts for shipping and ports” (with David Pinder, in (eds) D. Pinder and B. Slack Transport in the Twenty-First Century. (Routledge:London) pp1-22.
  18. McCalla, R, Slack, B., and Comtois, C. (2004) “Dealing with globalization at the regional and local level: the case of contemporary containerization”. The Canadian Geographer, 48 473-487.
  19. Slack, B. and Fremont A. (2004) “The Transformation of Port terminal Operations: from the local to the Global” Transport Reviews, 25, 117-130.
  20. Wang, J and Slack, B. (2004) “Regional Governance of Port Development in China: a case study of Shanghai International Shipping Centre” Maritime Policy and Management (31) 357-373
  21. Slack, B., and Comtois C. (2004) “Innover l’autorité portuaire au 21e siècle: un nouvel agenda de gouvernance” Les Cahiers Scientifiques du Transport, 44, 11-24.
  22. Fremont, A and Slack, B. (2004) “Présentation du Dossier” Les Cahiers Scientifiques du Transport, 44, 5-10.
  23. Cheung, R., Tong, J. and Slack B. (2003) The transition from freight consolidation to logistics: the case of Hong Kong, Journal of Transport Geography, 11, 245-253.
  24. Slack, B. and McCalla, R (2003) Le Canal Panama à un carrefour: géopolitique, réalites commerciales et environnement. Études Internationales, 34, 2, 253-262.
  25. Slack B. and Wang J. (2002) The challenge of peripheral ports:an Asian perspective. GeoJournal, 56, 159-166.
  26. Comtois C. and Slack B. (2002) Le port de Montréal: un système portuaire inachevé. Cahiers Nantais, 55-6, 141-149.
  27. Slack, B., Comtois, C. and McCalla R (2002). Strategic Alliances in the Container Shipping industry: a global perspective. Maritime Policy and Management , 29, 65-76.
  28. Dion S., Slack B. and Comtois C. (2002) Port and Airport Divestiture in Canada. Journal of Transport Geography, 10, 187-193.
  29. McCalla, R., Slack, B. and Comtois, C. (2001). Intermodal Freight Terminals: locality and industrial linkages. The Canadian Geographer 45, 404-413.
  30. Wang J, and Slack, B. (2000). The evolution of a regional container port system: the Pearl River Delta. Journal of Transport Geography, 8, 263-276.
  31. Comtois, C. and Slack, B. (2000) Terminaux de Transport et grande region urbaine. Perspectives Chinois, 58, 12-20.
  32. Slack B. (1999) Across the Pond, containerisation on the North Atlantic. Geoforum, 48, 9-14.
  33. Slack, B. (1999) Satellite Terminals: a local solution to hub congestion? Journal of Transport Geography, 7, 241-246.
  34. Slack B. (1999) Shipping lines and their influence on port development. The Dock and Harbour Authority, 79, 894, 249-250.
  35. Alix,Y. Comtois, C. and Slack, B. (1999) Alliance or Acquisition: Strategies for Growth in the Container Shipping Industry. Journal of Transport Geography. 7, 3, 203-208.


  1. Wang, J., Notteboom, Th., Slack, B. and Olivier, D. (2007) Ports, Cities and Global Supply Chains. (Ashgate: London).
  2. Rodrigue, J-P., Comtois, C. and Slack, B. (2006); Geography of Transport Systems. (Routledge: New York)
  3. Pinder, D. and Slack, B (2004) “Ocean Transport in the Twenty-First Century”. (Routledge:London)

Chapters in books

  1. Slack, B. (2002) Globalazzione et transporto maritimo. In S. Soriano (ed.) Porti, citta, e territorio costiero. Bologna:Mulino.67-93.
  2. Rodrigue, J P and Slack B., (2002) Logistics and National Security. In S.K. Majumdar et al. (eds.) Science, Technology and National Security, Easton, PA: The Pennsylvania Academy of Science, pp. 214 225.
  3. Comtois, C and Slack B., (2001) Les systèmes portuaires et les villes: comparaisons entre diverses régions du monde. In Patier-Marque, D. (ed.) L’intégration des marchandises dans le système des déplacements urbains, Laboratoire d’Économie des Transports, Lyon, 319-322.
  4. Comtois, C., Slack, B., Manzagol, C., and Laserre, J-C (2001) Les plateformes multi-modales en zones urbaines. In Patier-Marque, D. (ed.) L’intégration des marchandises dans le système des déplacements urbains, Laboratoire d’Économie des Transports, Lyon, 323-328.
  5. Rodrigue, J-P, Slack, B. and Comtois, C. (2001) Green Logistics. In D. Hensher et al. (eds.) Handbook of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Elsevier, New York, 339-350.
  6. Slack B. (2001) Intermodal Transportation. In D. Hensher et al. (eds.) Handbook of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Elsevier, New York. p 141-154.
  7. Slack, B. (1998) Intermodal Transportation. In Hoyle B.S. and Knowles R. (eds.) Modern Transport Geography, Wiley: Chichester. Second Edition, p.263-290.


  1. Comtois, C. and Slack, B. (2009). Analyse internationale des stratégies de développement des axes fluvio-maritimes : mieux positionner le systèmeSaint-Laurent. Transports Quebec, pp. 194.
  2. Comtois, C. and Slack, B. (2009) Developing Key Port UtilizationIndicators (KPUI) for Canada's Bulk Ports. Transport Canada, pp 36.
  3. Comtois, C. and Slack, B. (2010) Aménagement d'un pôle logistique auQuébec: Évaluation de la faisabilité des divers scénarios retenues deplate-formes logistiques. Ministère du développement économique, del'innovation et de l'exportation, government du Québec, pp. 65.
  4. Comtois, C. and Slack, B. (2011) Mega Vessels: Implications for CandianPorts. Transport Canada, pp. 67.

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