Source: adapted from C. Ducruet (2003) "The Trans-Scalar Development
of Transportation Hubs: A Quantitative Comparison of European and East
Asian Container Port Cities in the 1990s".
There is a relationship between the size
of a port and the size of the metropolitan area it is located in, particularly
for coastal cities having good port sites. Conventionally, because of
high inland transport costs, city size and port size tended to converge.
Maritime activities were a direct driver of urban growth. Containerization
has however changed this relationship by supporting the setting of much
larger port terminals and by expanding hinterland access. This permitted
a higher level of possible divergence between the level of port activity
and city size. Intermediate hubs are the most notable example of such a
process since little, if any traffic, is bound to the hinterland.
Ports such as Algeciras and Freeport are major transshipment
hubs while they are near cities of relative small size. Port size can thus be completely unrelated with city size. The setting
of gateways also contributes to the divergence between port size and
city size since they service vast hinterlands. European gateways, such
as Antwerp and Rotterdam, are salient examples of medium sized cities
where the port area is larger than the metropolitan area.