Evolution and Developing Mechanism of Por t Distr ibution System in China

  • Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China

Received date: 2006-12-08

  Revised date: 2007-03-29

  Online published: 2007-08-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.406355026; China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, No.2005038112


Port system is an important research field of transportation geography, and its distribution system is very important. But the research of evolution course over a long period has been scarce at home and abroad and needs to be strengthened, so study on this topic can contribute to the identification of the developing stage of port system and provide scientific basis for its future optimization. In this paper, based on expounding on research history of port systems in foreign countries and China, the author discussed the developing course of port system in China since the Qin and Han dynasties, and analyzed their spatial feature in detail, including port system and main ports, from the river ports to the seaports system. According to the present study, the author identified six developing stages with different spatial distribution characteristics: (1) from the Qin and Han dynasties to the Northern and Southern Dynasties; (2) from the Sui and Tang dynasties to the Song Dynasty; (3) from the Yuan Dynasty to the middle period of the Ming Dynasty; (4) from the middle period of the Ming Dynasty to the Sino-British Opium War; (5) from the Sino-British Opium War to the year 1949; and (6) since the year 1949. The research about developing mechanism of port system from historical point of view is always the important and key contents of port study. So, the author analyzed the developing and evolution mechanism of port distribution system in China from five aspects: (1) economic development and allocation of industry are the fundamental reason for the development and evolution of Chinese ports; (2) spatial interaction between political central district and economic central district leads to the development of grain transportation by river and canal systems, which promotes the ancient ports especially the canal ports to develop and flourish; (3) international trade is always the main impelling factors of seaports development and evolution in China since the Qin and Han dynasties; (4) since the Sino-British Opium War, foreign aggression from the Western countries and the control of port governance power lead to the abnormal development of Chinese port system; and (5) development and competition from other modern transport mode such as railway and express way speed up the bloom of seaports, but the decadence of inland river ports, especially the canal ports. In the final, the author summarized the primary developing rules of ports distribution system in China, dealing with its spatial evolution route including seaports and river ports, the main ports, driving mechanism from the interior and exterior of China, opening characteristics, location of ports and developing stages.

Cite this article

WANG Chengjin . Evolution and Developing Mechanism of Por t Distr ibution System in China[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2007 , 62(8) : 809 -820 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200708003


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