Evolution of hub port-cities into global logistics centres

Mina Akhavan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper makes an attempt to explore the evolutionary process of major port cities in the Eastern World, while transforming from freight transport hubs into global logistics centres. The discourse is developed through studying the two significant cases in Pacific Asia and Middle East, where development is occurring on a spectacular scale: respectively Singapore and Dubai. In this study, Singapore is considered as an extreme case of transhipment hub ports, which has been successful in attracting logistics activity and developing a leading global logistics centre. By conducting a comparative case study approach and descriptive statistics, Dubai's competitiveness as a logistics hub is compared to Singapore, based on the following indicators: location; port container and air cargo handling respectively for the periods 1975-2015 and 2001-2015; basic socio-economic indictors (Population, GDP, GDP per capita and share of main sectors in the economy for the period 1990s-2015); infrastructures and transport facilities; ease of doing business; and more importantly the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) for the period 2007-2016. The aim is to fill the gap in the literature on emerging logistics hubs in the Middle East by confronting Dubai to Singapore, which is among the top global logistics centres. The study argues that Dubai is far from Singapore in terms of logistics performance. Nonetheless, the trade-infrastructural investments and rising freight distribution (via sea and air), yet also the growth in LPI in the past decade is a proof to Dubai's ambitious in evolving from a regional trading hub into a global logistics centre.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-47
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Transport Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Dubai
  • Global logistics centres
  • Port-infrastructure development
  • Singapore
  • Transhipment hub ports


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