A maritime range is a functional area jointly defined by its hinterland when inland markets are serviced and by its foreland when transshipment is taking place. In a maritime range, ports can be competing, complementary, and, when the range extends across several countries, common regulations. A geographical commonality can involve proximity, adjacency, contiguity, or being part of an archipelago. Commercial services are established by maritime shipping companies to either link maritime ranges (deep-sea services) or to connect the range itself with regional, feeder, or cabotage services.
A maritime range thus represents a functional region that includes the coast (the maritime / land interface) but as well as a hinterland and a maritime boundary. The hinterland boundary is the land area potentially serviced by the range, as services outside this boundary are possible but represent a marginal share of the hinterland activity. The maritime boundary could in theory be the coastline, but using Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) to mark the maritime boundary is more relevant to the geopolitical and economic reality of maritime ranges since it includes an area of maritime jurisdiction. The following map provides a representation of the world’s main maritime ranges.