Open Access Article

Title: Sustainable port development: the role of Chinese seaports in the 21st century Maritime Silk Road

Authors: Chuanxu Wang; Hercules Haralambides; Le Zhang

Addresses: Shanghai Maritime University, 1550 Haigang Avenue, Shanghai 201306, China ' Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne, 106-112 Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75647 Paris Cedex 13, France; Dalian Maritime University, 1 Linghai Road, Dalian 116026, China ' Shanghai Maritime University, 1550 Haigang Avenue, Shanghai 201306, China

Abstract: We evaluate the respective roles, functions and prospects of the 15 Chinese ports, intended to be the 'eastern end' of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). To achieve this, and thus contribute to the future development of BRI, we introduce the concept of sustainable development capability. We employ principal component analysis and analytic hierarchy process to build a model which evaluates the (cooperative) sustainability of the ports, based on four dimensions: capacity of port operations; (ambient) economic conditions; environmental factors; and human intellect and technology (HIT). Sensitivity and cluster analysis are used, to classify the ports into four categories (respective roles): international hub ports, regional hub ports, node ports, and regional gate ports. We hope that the port system we present and assess here will provide guidance to ports and countries, especially in Europe, leading to the right 'port alliances', that could turn BRI into an efficient global transportation system.

Keywords: one belt-one road; OBOR; Belt and Road Initiative; BRI; China; sustainability; seaports; principal component analysis; PCA; analytic hierarchy process; sensitivity analysis; cluster analysis.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2021.112924

International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, 2021 Vol.13 No.1/2, pp.205 - 232

Received: 15 Oct 2019
Accepted: 26 Jun 2020

Published online: 09 Feb 2021 *