Container port systems in China and the USA: A comparative study

Kevin X. Li, Meifeng Luo, Jinglei Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This study compares the evolution of container port systems in China and the USA in terms of port throughput, number of container ports and the concentration level in the container port system, based on the time-series data on these three features over the period 1979-2009 for China and 1970-2009 for the USA. The results show that the densities of container ports in the two countries are similar, and their evolutionary processes are alike, which has led to a comparable market structure in the port industries of the two countries. In addition, the disparities between container ports closely represent the unevenness in the regional economic development. We further compare the port management regimes of the two countries in terms of the administrative processes for port development and expansion, the ownership structure and the providers of port functions, which offer some explanation on the dynamics of port evolution in the two countries. In conclusion, it can be seen that the evolution of the container port system and the management regime in the USA can be a de facto reference for the future development of the Chinese container port system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-478
Number of pages18
JournalMaritime Policy and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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