After the the Belt and Road initiative launched in 2013, Chinese terminal operators invested in ports situated along the “21st- century Maritime Silk Road (MSR)”. Identifying which ports are important is made possible through applying complex network methods and GIS analysis. This paper thus identifies strategic hub ports and investment strategies along the MSR. Our main conclusions are as follows. (1) In 2017, the ports with the greatest contact with China were located in the Southeast Asian and European shipping areas. (2) The overseas invested terminals of Chinese terminal operators are mainly concentrated in European and the Mediterranean Sea. Although the connection between China and Southeast Asia is strengthening, terminal operations in Southeast Asia did not expand significantly in the past 12 years. (3) The ports of Singapore, Kelang, Manila (Asia), Rotterdam, Hamburg (Europe), Suez and Port Said (Mediterranean and Red Sea), Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney (Oceania) are the ports of major concern for current and future investment by Chinese terminal operators.
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