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Port Governance in China: An Integrated Orientation

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Author(s): Theo Notteboom, Shanghai Maritime University, China; Ghent University, University of Antwerp and Antwerp Maritime Academy, Belgium

Recent Chinese policy evolution and directions on port governance have managerial implications for Chinese ports, local port groups and port bureaus. Three main principles underpin these policies: an increased focus on port integration and cooperation, a strong orientation towards hinterland development, and the opening-up of the Chinese port sector to both accepting investment from and investing in foreign entities.

Port cooperation and integration has become a hot topic in China against the background of slower traffic growth, increased competition and growing international opportunities. There is a significant rise in port integration initiatives in China since the early 2000s. We can interpret this result in two ways.

One approach is to conclude that the port devolution process to the more local level has not resulted in excessive self-interest and ambitions of individual ports, but has actually enhanced their sense for cooperation and coordination. 

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