Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2003, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (3): 424-432.doi: 10.11821/xb200303012

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The Evolution Mechanism of the Coastal Container Port System of China

CAO Youhui1, CAO Weidong1, JIN Shisheng1, LI Haijian1, WANG Liming2   

  1. 1. Department of Geography, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241000, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2002-09-07 Revised:2003-01-08 Online:2003-05-25 Published:2003-05-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 40171023


The main purpose of this paper is to study the formation mechanism, evolution model of the coastal container port system at theoretical and empirical levels. Firstly, a theoretical analysis about the formation mechanism of the coastal container port system in view of combination of institutional economics and economic geography is given, in which the competition and cooperation on overlapping hinterland or carrier among the interrelated container ports in a region are equally stressed. On one hand, with the formation of competition, the interrelated ports are divided into hierarchies of the scale and functional structure. On the other hand, with the emergence of cooperation, the interrelated ports merge into an organic whole. Secondly, in the light of the development of landlocked connection and the change of maritime space, the authors put forward a four-phase model that illustrates the dynamic development process of the coastal container port system and the rationale behind such development. According to this model, there are new dimensions of port structure, port operation, port hierarchies, and hinterland delineations at various phases. Thirdly, based on the empirical study of China's experience, the paper holds that there have been three development stages of the coastal container port system of China, that is, the birth of container ports (1972-1978), the initial development of container port system (1979-1995), and the fundamental formation of container port system (since 1996).

Key words: competition mechanism, cooperation mechanism, evolution model, the coastal container port, China