Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (10): 1752-1766.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201610008

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial evolution of coal transportation of coastal ports in China

WANG Wei1,2,3, WANG Chengjin1()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2015-08-07 Revised:2016-02-25 Online:2016-11-28 Published:2016-11-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571113]


Coal is the basic resource that can provide support and protection for the development of national economy and our society. Thus, coal transportation has been an important component of China's comprehensive transportation system. In this system, port is the most vital transit node. This paper, taking coastal ports in China as the study subject, analyzes the pattern evolution of coal transportation from 1973 to 2013. We focus on the spatial pattern of coal output and input, and summarize the main characteristics and the development law. Then, using mathematical models and indicators, we examine the spatial concentration level and its changes in ports' coal input and output. Finally, we analyze the specialized functions and the spatial differentiation of the ports in coal transportation in order to reveal their spatial relations and temporal evolution. We found that the spatial pattern of coal transportation for China's coastal port changed from "south input and north output" to "all input and north output". However, the prominent ports in coal unloading are still concentrated in the south of the Yangtze River. Coal loading is concentrated on the west bank of the Bohai Sea. In addition, some ports around the Bohai, such as Dandong, Dalian, Yantai and Qingdao, have changed from the traditional coal unloading ports to loading ones. This study enriches the theory of transport geography, and we hope it can provide guidance for China's coal transportation optimization.

Key words: coastal ports, coal transportation, spatial differentiation, spatial evolution, loading and unloading, China