Path to a multilayered transshipment port system: How the Yangtze River bulk port system has evolved

Dong Yang, Kelly Yujie Wang, Hua Xu, Zhehui Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Due to this, a large number of iron ore ports/terminals have been built along the Yangtze River, and the Yangtze River bulk port system has experienced a unique development in its structure. This paper aims to understand the evolution of this bulk port system.1along the Yangtze River. To achieve this objective, first the development phases of the Yangtze River bulk port system are reviewed, taking the theoretical (container) port evolution model as a benchmark. Then several hypotheses addressing certain features of bulk port system development are proposed, followed by using panel data analysis to test these hypotheses. Based on this discussion and analysis, the major driving forces that are reshaping bulk port development along the Yangtze River are then summarized. It is found that evolution of the Yangtze River bulk port system in general follows the port development models in previous literature. However, the trend toward regionalization and an offshore hub have not appeared. Besides this, iron ore transshipment is moving outward both for sea ports and river ports, and few iron ore transshipment gateway hubs are occurring. Furthermore, the transshipment function of a bulk port plays a significant role in port traffic changes, but this role is affecting sea ports differently to river ports. The container throughput of transshipment sea ports has a significant negative effect on bulk traffic, whereas that of transshipment river ports has a positive effect. Geographical conditions, institutional factors and national policy, industry agglomeration, changes in market supply and demand, and technology updates are major factors driving changes to the port system structure. These factors are observed to function either individually or collectively at different development stages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-64
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Bulk port system evolution
  • Inland river shipping
  • Panel data analysis
  • Port development model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • General Environmental Science


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