Maritime cluster relatedness and policy implications

Dong Yang, Kee Hung Lai, Chengkun Li, Lu Li, Y. H Venus Lun

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Despite existing debates on the maritime cluster's institutional composition, geographical boundary, or evolutionary patterns, few studies have empirically scrutinized the relatedness of industrial sectors inside a maritime cluster. This study aims to develop an industry-relatedness model to quantitatively measure the paired industry relatedness among three maritime sectors: port-related, shipping-related, and maritime business services. Maritime sectors can be labour-intensive or capital-intensive, and thereby we constructed a compound ratio of capital per capita to address the heterogeneity issue in evaluating the industry relatedness. Instead of focusing on a specific maritime cluster, we applied the model to three representative maritime clusters, namely Western Europe, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), and the Yangtze River Delta (YRD), to enhance the generalizability of our findings and implications. Findings suggest that the maritime cluster in Western Europe is characterized by more inter-sector connections. In Western Europe, Ship owning and operating, and Ship management and agency are found to operate with the highest relatedness; GBA has a polarized maritime industry structure with Hong Kong specializing in Ship finance and Shipbroking; cities in YRD operate with a speciality in Shipbuilding and repairing. This study found that differences in industry relatedness are mainly attributable to the focal region's evolutionary history and governance structure. We also provided a valuable reference for policymakers to plan and improve local and regional maritime cluster development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-88
Number of pages13
JournalTransport Policy
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Cluster policy
  • Industry relatedness model
  • Location quotient approach
  • Maritime cluster
  • Port development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation


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