, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 107–122 | Cite as

Frontline soldiers of globalisation: Port–city evolution and regional competition

  • César DucruetEmail author
  • Sung-Woo Lee


This paper is an empirical attempt to measure the relative concentration of port–city functions in the context of globalisation. It reviews a number of urban and port issues regarding their complementary and contradictory aspects about the evolution of port cities. The main purpose is to verify how port function is more or less important to local economies, compared to other functions, through a temporal and global approach. Based on a matrix of port–city centrality and intermediacy, the main indicators available for international comparison are urban population and container throughput. An analysis of 653 places between 1970 and 2005 period is provided, using the relative concentration index (RCI) proposed by Vallega. The appropriate geographical scale to measure the relative evolution of port cities at a global level is discussed. Results tend to question previous models which consider functional and spatial separation between the city and its port as an ineluctable process. The port–city evolution appears to be gradual rather than linear or chaotic, and in many cases largely influenced by regional factors and local strategies.


Containerisation Globalisation Port city Relative concentration index 



Authors would like to express their profound gratitude towards Professor Brian Slack, Concordia University, for his in-depth revision of the paper and his very helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northeast Asian Regional Development CenterKorea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS)Dongan-gu, Anyang, Gyeonggi-doRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Port Research CenterKorea Maritime Institute (KMI)Seocho-guRepublic of Korea

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