Source: Adapted from Lee, S.W., D.W. Song and C. Ducruet (2008) “A tale of Asia’s world ports: the spatial evolution in global hub port cities”, Geoforum, Vol. 39, pp. 373-385.
The hinterlands of three major economic regions can be synthetically represented in terms of their intensity and the importance of gateways and corridors that service them:
- In North America, there is a high level of concentration of economic activities along the coastal areas (East and West coasts) with significant resources and manufacturing hinterlands. From coastal gateways long-distance rail corridors, often taking the form of a landbridge, are servicing a continental hinterland. This hinterland is articulated by major transportation and industrial hubs such as Chicago.
- In Western Europe, the hinterland is the most intense in the interior, notably along the Rhine river system. This hinterland is accessed from coastal gateways, such as Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, and Le Havre, through medium-distance corridors involving a variety of combinations of road, barge, and rail services. Almost all the major European capitals are interior cities located along rivers.
- In East and Southeast Asia, a significant share of the economic activity takes place along the coast, with a few high population density interior hinterlands, such as in China. Hinterland access is commonly problematic, linked to the fact that a large share of the accumulation of new economic activities has taken place in the vicinity of major gateways. There is thus a strong contrast between coastal gateways equipped with modern (container) terminals and hinterlands usually poorly serviced by rail freight services.