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Chinese container port sector: performance and readiness for the Silk Road Strategy

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 11:48 authored by Zhang, Q, Hong-Oanh NguyenHong-Oanh Nguyen, Sakalayen, Q

Against the background of globalisation, China’s economy has secured a dominant place in the world. The contribution of international trade to the country’s economic growth would not be successful without the support of the maritime industry, especially container terminals along its 14,500 km coastline. In recent decades, nearly all the Chinese coastal provinces and municipalities have massive investment in container terminals to meet growing containerised trade. The sector has also seen extensive involvement and investment by global terminal operators. This paper aims to evaluate the trends in these developments, their effect on Chinese container terminals’ performance and provide an exploratory research into the sector’s readiness for the country’s Silk Road (One Bell One Road) strategy.

The analysis makes use of two sample frames; the first sample is a cross-sectional dataset consisting of 46 Chinese container terminals and the second one is a panel data set of 27 container terminals over the 2005-2013 period. The analysis results indicate the performance of Chinese container ports have improved significantly over the last decades but also varied across terminals in the same port and across regions. Foreign investment and involvement in the operation of Chinese container terminals have a positive effect on the sector’s performance. The results of the four hypothesis tests of the sector’s readiness indicate that the sector is capable of supporting the country’s Silk Road strategy. In particular, the results of three hypothesis tests on performance trend, intra-port competition, and the effect of the global terminal operators’ participation on the sector’s performance are in favour of its readiness for the Silk Road strategy, while the result of hypothesis test on returns to scale is inconclusive. Thus, while the sector as a whole will benefit from the Silk Road strategy, some terminal would benefit more than the others.


Publication title

Proceedings of the OBOR Conference 2016




Australian Maritime College


RMIT University

Place of publication


Event title

One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Conference

Event Venue

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright unknown

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other transport not elsewhere classified