The approach of thinking about systems as a whole with the explicit consideration of complex interactions between its constituents is the key conceptual framework underlying systems thinking. Such an approach is particularly useful for unraveling the dynamic interactions that confounds present-day maritime systems. In this work, we propose the DIVER systems inquiry framework as a logical and platform to guide the systems thinking process in elucidating the maritime dynamics. We describe the implementation of system dynamics modeling and simulation as a particularly relevant tool within this framework. Its role as a structural modeling and analysis tool for various supply-demand problems is described. Furthermore, as a means to facilitate the systems thinking process in this framework, we propose a set of archetypical system structures that can explain some commonly observed maritime dynamics. Finally, a case study on the evolution of global container ship capacity based on DIVER is presented. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Syst Eng 14:
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