Over the past two decades, numerous ports located in China have participated in port integration strategies, thus influencing the entire port system. The current research is initiated in order to examine the nature of port integration in China, including associated temporal pathways, spatial patterns and dynamics. Results indicate that port integration in China has been characterized by a significant increase at the turn of the 21st century, comprising thirteen distinguishable pathways typified by differing dynamics, particularly between the northern and southern ports. Pathways were found to include 44 seaports and river ports, chiefly concentrated in the Bohai Rim, Yangtze (Changjiang) River Delta, Beibu Gulf and the southeastern Fujian, thus representing significant spatial regions. Categorically larger seaports have become the primary beneficiaries of port integration. Integration cases were divided into four categories based upon quantified dynamic magnitude including the government-driven mode, market-driven mode, government/market-driven mode and strategic alliance, and into five further categories based upon spatial extent including port internal integration, jurisdictional port integration, port integration across neighbor region, regional port integration and hub-feeder port integration. Results suggest that several factors have effectively driven port integration in China, including legislative tools and spatial planning, optimization of shoreline resources and port functionality, and port competition with the same hinterland.
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Wang, C., Ducruet, C. & Wang, W. Port integration in China: Temporal pathways, spatial patterns and dynamics. Chin. Geogr. Sci. 25, 612–628 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11769-015-0752-3