International Workshop, ISEL; The recent literature on ports and regional development mostly documents the weakening spatial fix of flows and the negative externalities of ports on their surrounding territories. Except for port impact studies that remain difficultly comparable across locations, such observations are mostly based on simplified measures of port activity, such as total port throughputs, and on developed countries. Arguing that port-region linkages have maintained in more subtle interdependencies, this paper provides a comparative approach including both mature and emerging economies comprising about 1,500 ports situated in more than 300 regions and 40 countries. The statistical analysis of combined commodity traffic data and regional socio-economic data confirms the affinity of certain port traffics with specific local characteristics. A global typology of port regions is proposed while pointing at noticeable influences between traffic volumes, types, and local economic structures. This research thus brings new insights about the territorial embedding of value chains and production networks.
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