Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (8): 2067-2082.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202208015

• Geopolitics andWorld Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Vulnerability changes of the Maritime Silk Road container shipping network under intentional attacks

WU Di(), WANG Yupeng, SHENG Shijie, WANG Nuo   

  1. Transportation Engineering College, Dalian Maritime University, Dalian 116026, Liaoning, China
  • Received:2021-06-07 Revised:2022-03-29 Online:2022-08-25 Published:2022-10-12
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(72104042);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42030409);National Social Science Foundation of China(20&ZD070);Social Science Foundation of Liaoning Province(L19CGJ001)


Since the release of "Vision and Actions on jointly building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road" in 2015, the Maritime Silk Road container shipping network has experienced rapid development and significant changes along with the construction of the Belt and Road economic community. To explore changes in the vulnerability of the Maritime Silk Road container shipping network under intentional attacks, this study proposed an identification method for the critical point of collapse of the container shipping network based on geospatial connection changes and the network fragmentation process under such attacks. In addition, a quantification method is developed for the change trend and degree of vulnerability of the container shipping network. The network was constructed using statistical data of ports and routes of the Maritime Silk Road in 2015 and 2019. The results show that the intentional attack tolerances of the networks in 2015 and 2019 were 4.21% and 5.51%, respectively, indicating that the Maritime Silk Road container shipping network in 2019 was stronger than that in 2015, with a relative change rate of 30.88%. The driving mechanisms for the vulnerability changes in the Maritime Silk Road container shipping network mainly included the diminished differentiation in the structure of the port hierarchy, the increasing completion of the backup mechanism of key ports, and the closer container shipping links of East and Southeast Asia with other regions. Corresponding countermeasures and suggestions are proposed for continuously guaranteeing the interconnection of container shipping between China and countries (regions) along the Maritime Silk Road. The results of this study have important theoretical significance and practical value for revealing the vulnerability changes of the Maritime Silk Road container shipping network and its driving mechanisms and influencing factors, as well as for ensuring the continuous interconnection of the network. The analysis method presented in this paper can provide a reference for related research on vulnerability changes in other transportation networks.

Key words: Maritime Silk Road, container shipping network, intentional attacks, vulnerability, driving mechanisms, influencing factors