PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (11): 1499-1509.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.11.006

• Special Column: South China Sea and "the Belt and Road Initiative" • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial connection and regional difference of the coastal container port shipping network of China

Jianke GUO(), Yao HE, Yajie HOU   

  1. Center of Ocean Economy and Sustainable Development, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, Liaoning, China
  • Received:2018-03-26 Revised:2018-07-04 Online:2018-11-28 Published:2018-11-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571126, No.41571122;Social Science Humanity Foundation of Education Ministry, No.18JJD79005


Coastal ports are the intersections between the Belt and Road sea and land routes and the shipping network is the carrier for the ports' integration into the Maritime Silk Road, therefore their spatial connection and integration level are important indicators of the overall competitiveness of the ports. Using a complex network model to quantitatively depict and analyze the shipping network connection in 2005 and 2015, this article discusses the spatial and regional differences of container ports of China in the past 10 years. The results show that: (1) The container port shipping network of China had a bigger clustering coefficient and a smaller average path length and the whole network follows the small-world model. Differences between network accessibility and transfer function of the ports are relatively smaller, and regional hub ports are more stable. (2) Based on the strongest connection of shipping network from social network analysis (UCINET), from a national perspective three relatively independent regional networks have evolved into an integrative hub-spoke spatial network. From a regional perspective, although a few ports have the strongest connection with non-local hub ports, four regional ports still form relatively complete networks. (3) From the perspective of regional differences, the vertex strength of the connections among the four regional ports has increased, the network accessibility and transfer function of ports in Taiwan have improved, and their strongest connection area changed from the Pearl River Delta to the Yangtze River Delta. It also forms a regional network with Kaohsiung Port as a regional hub. The vertex strength between all ports in Taiwan and ports in China's mainland has increased by 79.46%. The vertex strength between the Hong Kong Port and all ports in China's mainland has decreased by 22.99%. The Hong Kong Port has declined from the national hub port to the Pearl River Delta regional hub port.

Key words: coastal container ports of China, complex network, hub-spoke, weighted network, regional difference