Tropical Geography ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (4): 592-604.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003460

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Literature Review on Inland Ports: Based on Papers in SCI and SSCI Journals

Huiming Zong(), Ju Sun   

  1. School of Geographic Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2021-04-11 Revised:2021-06-24 Online:2022-04-05 Published:2022-04-25


The proposal of a national strategy for the "New Western Land Sea Corridor" will affect the reconstruction of the overall freight distribution pattern in western China. As the most important hub node for cargo distribution and transshipment in inland areas, the inland port (or dry port) is of great significance to regional economic development, logistics systems, and the construction of a new regional development pattern. Therefore, 111 papers on inland port research in international core journals have been selected in this study to systematically review the research status of inland ports and put forward the key directions and development trends for future research to serve the theoretical research and construction planning practice of inland ports in China, and globally. In this study, the literature metrology method is adopted to divide inland port research and development into three stages: the first stage is the initial stage (before 2005); the second stage is the slow fluctuating growth stage (2006-2017); the third stage is the rapid increase stage (2018-present). Scholars are interested in inland port research mainly from mainland China, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries (regions). Related research topics on inland ports are mostly combined with transportation, logistics, and other fields, which indicates that inland ports have become an important part of transportation systems and supply chain transportation networks. Among specific related research topics, the concept of inland ports is an important research topic, mainly focusing on the differences in naming and function, facilities of inland ports under different geographical backgrounds, and additional functions extended with economic development; however, its concept has not yet been unified. Research on the spatial layout system of inland ports shows that the inland port site selection and layout can be roughly summed up as a supply chain-oriented pattern, and industrial cluster-oriented pattern; the former often near port cargo distribution of traffic nodes, while the latter is on the border between the end of the supply chain. The location and layout of inland ports are influenced by economic foundation, transportation infrastructure, and local policy factors. Inland ports have a profound impact on the region. In terms of spatial effects, they have an impact on urban spatial planning and land use; in terms of economic effects, they can promote regional economic development and employment; in terms of environmental effects, they can reduce energy consumption and emissions, and promote the realization of regional sustainable development. In the operation and control of inland ports, special attention should be paid to the relationship between port planning and each manager, as well as to the management system, to realize the efficient, sustainable, and healthy development of inland ports. Finally, based on the new trends of global inland port logistics research and the realistic demand of China, we put forward several suggestions for future research, including the redefinition of dry ports, spatial layout and planning of inland ports, their regional influence, the port-city relationship, risk of investment, and potential benefits of inland ports.

Key words: inland port, port, harbor hinterland, transport corridor, bibliometrics

CLC Number: 

  • F551