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Maritime cluster research: Evolutionary classification and future development

Xin Shi, Haizhou Jiang, Huan Li and Dong Xu

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 2020, vol. 133, issue C, 237-254

Abstract: Maritime clusters have spawned considerable scholarly work in recent years owing to their crucial effect on regional economic development and global shipping resource allocation. The present study re-examines the research on maritime clusters by completely reviewing the relevant literature and thus developing a clear profile of the main views, initiating new and noteworthy research topics, and presenting challenges to maritime cluster–related studies. First, a framework for categorising maritime cluster research topics is proposed, which is well structured in terms of ‘what’ (descriptions of a maritime cluster), ‘why’ (the effect of clusters on regional or industrial development), and ‘how’ (the formation and development of maritime clusters). Second, following this what–why–how logic, the related literature has been reviewed to summarise and compare the diverse views on each research topic, including composition, function and governance; effect and contribution; competitiveness, evolution, policy and innovation. Third, new and noteworthy research topics such as the global spillover of maritime clusters, disruptive innovation, and developmental pathways of emerging maritime clusters are presented by considering the gaps in the current academic research and actual developing trends of global maritime clusters. Finally, the main challenges to the maritime cluster– related studies, reflected in the adaption to the changing environment, theory building, and empirical analysis, are presented. In particular, the absence of consensus on ‘what is a maritime cluster’ has increased the difficulty in further expansion of maritime clusters–related studies; and the limited number of maritime clusters and relevant customised data has hindered the verification, generalisation, and applicability of the conclusions drawn from the conventional research.

Keywords: Maritime cluster research; Literature review; Classification; Future directions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2020.01.015

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