Tropical Geography ›› 2023, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (8): 1652-1664.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003727

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Evaluation of the Port Location Advantage Degree along the Maritime Silk Road Based on Geographic Relationships

Jianke Guo1,2(), Tianqi Feng1,2(), Yafeng Qin1,2, Xiaoyang Liu1,2   

  1. 1.Center of Marine Economy and Sustainable Development, Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry Education, Dalian 116029, China
    2.University Collaborative Innovation Center of Marine Economy High-Quality Development of Liaoning Province, Dalian 116029, China
  • Received:2022-07-31 Revised:2023-04-22 Online:2023-08-05 Published:2023-08-14
  • Contact: Tianqi Feng;


As the most significant international transportation infrastructure, the operation and external links of ports are affected by more complicated aspects, resulting in immense changes not seen in a century. Related studies have long been interested in and have followed the evaluation of port location advantage as a comprehensive response to ports' economic and trade conditions. Location advantage reflects the overall resource advantage of a location. Transportation infrastructure can be evaluated from various perspectives, and the choice of different indicators sets the evaluation slant for its use. A port's ability to operate depends on natural navigational conditions, high-quality infrastructure, an appropriate economic hinterland, favorable geographic relationships, and a global environment. Port location advantage has traditionally been focused on from the perspective of transportation routes, hinterland economy, etc. The geographical proximity of nations also has a significant impact on how ports function in today's complex international development environments. To evaluate the advantages of port location along the route, this study uses the geo-relationships between various countries as well as the physical, functional, and economic links between ports as its research objects. It then homogenizes the national-scale WGI Global Governance Index to ports and incorporates it with port-scale maritime distances and route linkages as an integrated model of the degree of location advantage of the ports, using ports along the Maritime Silk Road from 2008 to 2018 as case studies to show how much the ports' advantage in location affects their significance in the real world international environment. The research findings are as follows. 1) Because of the relative position of the hinterland economy in international economic and trade exchanges, the port location advantage also exhibits some scale-free characteristics, and the quantitative expression of geo-relationships between ports emphasizes the importance of ports. As a representative of Asia's emerging economies, China has added more ports with more significant location advantages. 2) The strength of location connections between ports follows the law of distance attenuation, and the shift in the center of gravity of port location connections to Asia reflects the formation of a port location connection pattern dominated by internal Asia with the development of many emerging economies therein. 3) Comparison with mainstream complex network indicators found that although the concentration of factor flow has been formed under the "flow space" in the era of globalization, primary geographical attributes such as geographical relationships and spatial distance still maintain their independence and do not exhibit spatial imbalance under the influence of the reconstruction of global industries and trade. The location of ports based on geographical relationships and port location dominance avoids the limitations of a single perspective in evaluating port location in the international shipping network and can serve as a new basis for assessing the importance of ports in shipping networks; the expression of geographical spatial relationships fills the evaluation gap of existing network indicators.

Key words: port location, geographical relation, location advantage, international trade, Maritime Silk Road

CLC Number: 

  • F552.7