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Dry Port Development in China: Motivations, Challenges, and Opportunities


As coastal production costs in China rise, producers are moving inland to remain competitive with other Asian countries. As a result, Chinese sea ports are rapidly developing dry (i.e., inland) ports to compete for hinterland access. Yet the growing body of research examining dry ports has yet to analyze China. This article fills this gap by combining practitioner interviews, publicly available data, and industry and academic literature to provide an overview of dry ports in China. The article discusses the recent active development of dry ports in China and summarizes the existing dry port network. Motivations for further dry port development are identified, including port competition, inland production, domestic consumption, logistics costs, and the environment. Challenges with dry port expansion such as rail, inland waterways, and actor coordination are reviewed, and opportunities for further research are highlighted.