Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (1): 149-176.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1837-9

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Spatial pattern of location advantages of ports along the Maritime Silk Road

MOU Naixia1(), WANG Chunying1, CHEN Jinhai2, YANG Tengfei3, ZHANG Lingxian1, LIAO Mengdi1   

  1. 1. College of Geodesy and Geomatics, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266590, Shandong, China
    2. Navigation College of Jimei University, National-local Joint Engineering Research Center for Marine Navigation Aids Services, Xiamen 361021, Fujian, China
    3. Aerospace Information Research Institute, CAS, Beijing 100094, China
  • Received:2020-03-19 Accepted:2020-09-11 Online:2021-01-25 Published:2021-03-25
  • About author:Mou Naixia (1973–), Professor, specialized in data mining, big data analysis, tourism and transport geography. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Major Program of National Social Science Fund of China(20&ZD070)


Location advantages of ports refer to the current developments of ports based on their conditions, such as geographic location, traffic accessibility and hinterland economy, etc., and the spatial pattern of ports’ location advantages reflects the spatial distributions, the regularities and the correlations among their conditions for development. A good understanding of the spatial patterns of ports’ location advantages can help to better identify the relative advantages of ports, position ports’ functions and make strategic plans for development. This paper selected 1259 ports from 63 countries along the Maritime Silk Road as research objects and builds an accessing model to analyze their location advantages on the bases of six factors: the influence of strategic shipping pivot, the competitiveness of port location potential, port network status, the influence of city, the influence of traffic trunk, and road network density in hinterland. The study has the following three findings. Firstly, the location advantages of ports show a “high-low-high” distribution pattern from the west to the east, displaying an obvious “core-periphery” regionalized distribution. Secondly, most ports have high location advantages, mainly located in Strait of Malacca, the United Arab Emirates, northern Mediterranean coastal region and China-Japan region, the top 10 ports are mainly located in Singapore, China, Malaysia and Japan, indicating that the shipping industry in Asia-Pacific region has stepped to the far front of the global competition; slow economic growths, wars, far away from the Belt and Road countries or bad climate have low location advantages, mainly located in African coastal areas, Oceania, Northeast Europe and Russia. Thirdly, compared with the landward location advantages, the seaward location advantages have a higher influence, and different indicators of location advantages have different influences on the evaluation results, the competitiveness of port location potential being the core indicator.

Key words: Maritime Silk Road, location advantages, ports, shipping network, spatial patterns