Port system evolution in Chinese coastal regions: A provincial perspective

Qiang Zhang, Kai Yan, Dong Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Against the background of provincial port integration in China, provincial port groups have become critical market players in the port industry. It has become necessary to review the evolution of the port system in Chinese coastal regions from a provincial perspective. This paper investigates the evolution of the Chinese port system by treating eleven coastal provinces as the units of analysis. The port system is categorized into four segments according to cargo type, namely, containers, solid bulk cargo, general cargo and liquid bulk cargo. Multiple methods are applied to study the port system from the perspectives of market shares, cargo concentrations, the port hierarchy and port specialization. The findings suggest that no province holds a leading market position in all cargo sectors, and interprovincial port competition remains intense. The degree of specialization in the provincial port systems is generally moderate, though Hebei Province is an exception with a high level of port specialization due to its special geographical location. This paper also elaborates on several policy implications for provincial port groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103031
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Port hierarchy
  • Port integration
  • Port specialization
  • Port system evolution
  • Provincial perspective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)

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