Open Access Article

Title: Port choice strategies for container carriers in China: a case study of the Bohai Bay Rim port cluster

Authors: Jinglei Yang; Grace W.Y. Wang; Kevin X. Li

Addresses: Department of Logistics Management, Nankai University, No. 94, Weijin Road, Nankai District, Tianjin, China ' Department of Maritime Administration, Texas A&M University at Galveston, P.O. Box 1675, Galveston, Texas 77553, USA ' Department of International Logistics, Chung-Ang University, 84 Heukseok-Ro, Dongjak-Gu, Seoul, Korea

Abstract: The ports of Dalian, Qingdao and Tianjin are the largest ports in the Bohai Bay Rim and as such are among the fastest growing container ports in China. This setting provides an opportunity to analyse the dynamics of competition involved in inter-port clusters. Competition in a port cluster can be examined from the perspective of port choice. To understand the key determinants of carriers' port choice strategies, on-site interviews were conducted in the fall of 2013. Having identified the factors involved, we performed multinomial logit regressions on them. The results indicated that foreign trade routes and destinations, improved design capacity, demand from the hinterland and whether or not there is a rapid boutique line, can sway a carrier's decision towards either a single port strategy or a combined strategy of making two or three stops at the ports of Dalian, Qingdao and Tianjin. As a result of this research, using combined qualitative and quantitative methodologies, a better understanding of the competition, development and governance of not only ports in a regional area, but throughout China itself, has been achieved. This has contributed overall to a better understanding of the dynamics and interrelationships involved between ports in the Bohai Bay Rim.

Keywords: Bohai Bay; port clusters; carrier choices; shipping routes; multinomial logit; China; port choice; port selection; container carriers; case study; container ports; foreign trade routes; foreign destinations; design capacity; hinterland demand; rapid boutique line.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2016.075008

International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, 2016 Vol.8 No.2, pp.129 - 152

Received: 10 Jul 2014
Accepted: 15 Jan 2015

Published online: 29 Feb 2016 *