The Chinese government has been exploring various paths to find a direction that better suits China's national conditions during the past 60 years. Meanwhile, a series of political and economic events and policy transformations have had different effects on the port industry. This article attempts to ascertain how these events and port policies have influenced Chinese port traffic through an empirical study on data covering 1952-2009. The findings suggest that foreign trade has been the prime driver of the throughput of Chinese ports. The increase in the ports' throughput has enabled an increase in domestic demand and the urgent need for further port investment. Chinese port throughput has been subject to multiple shocks. The Great Leap Forward1is found to have had the largest, but only a short-term impact. China's accession to the World Trade Organization, however, led to a longer and exclusive effect on ports, with little observed effect on the other variables. The reform of port governance is shown to have had a more lasting positive effect on port throughput than physical investment. However, these latter effects are minor, the economic and political factors remain the primary driving factors of port throughput.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Ocean Engineering
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law