Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (10): 1812-1826.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201710007

• Regional and Industrial Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Rank-size distribution and mechanism of port system in the Bohai Rim during the past thirty years

Jianke GUO1(), Yuanyue CHEN1, Xuhui YU2, Haizhuang WANG1   

  1. 1. Center for Studies of Marine Economy and Sustainable Development, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, Liaoning, China
    2. Faculty of Infrastructure Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116023, Liaoning, China
  • Received:2017-04-26 Revised:2017-09-18 Online:2017-11-10 Published:2017-11-06
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571126, No.41571122;Key Project of National Social Science Foundation of China, No.14ZDB131


In this paper, we investigated the characteristics of the scale distribution of the Bohai port system and analyzed its mechanism using the rank-size law and the kernel density method. The port cargo throughput and the container throughput over the recent 30 years were used as an indicator. Some results were obtained as follows: (1) The port system in the Bohai Rim has some characteristics of rank-size distribution, but there are significant differences in the rank-size distribution of ports in different stages and on different scales, and the port regionalization is becoming more and more clear. (2) The number of non-scale areas of the rank-size distribution of the port cargo throughput increases first and then decreases, and the single fractal is transformed into a two-fractal structure. Regional port system has experienced four stages: (a) balanced development of ports with high rank order, (b) breakthrough of small and medium ports, (c) differential development of large, medium and small ports, and (d) port integration under the competition and cooperation of hub ports. The change track of the rank-size distribution of the port container throughput has also experienced four stages: (a) external segmentation development, (b) formation of the hub port and the integration of emerging ports, (c) large scale of feeder port, and (d) integration of the container network. They are consistent on the development node. The concentration and decentralization of ports are interwoven. The total goods throughput is decentralized earlier than the container transport, and the dispersion trend of the total throughput is relatively obvious. (3) There are three characteristics of the port rank-size evolution in the Bohai Rim: (a) The dominant role of large ports is obvious under physical and economic geography. (b) The regionalization and competitive pressures force port cooperation and promote port to achieve self-organizing coordination. (c) The output characteristics and the transformation of the energy promote the rapid growth of emerging ports.

Key words: Bohai Rim, port system, rank-size law, kernel density estimation