State Capitalism and Spanish Port Development along the Maritime Silk Road

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With the rise of ‘new’ state capitalisms, control over transport infrastructure has returned to the forefront of competition in the global economy. This article investigates how different state capitalisms interact to enable economic developments in ports. It tracks the relationship between state-owned firms in the shipping and ports sectors through a case study of the port of Valencia in Spain and COSCO shipping group. The article identifies state capitalisms as variegated and relational to analyze the ways in which qualitatively different state capitalist dynamics interact at different scales. The article identifies two state capitalist dynamics which have been dominant in determining relations between Spanish and Chinese state capitalisms: 1) A commercial dynamic of maximizing Spanish ports profits by establishing new relationships with Chinese firms; and 2) an expansionary dynamic of increasing market share of Chinese state-owned firms in European shipping markets. These two dynamics are synergistic and have contributed to the competitiveness of Spanish ports and Chinese shipping firms by providing new capital to the port of Valencia and expanding the port's profile as a hub in the eastern Mediterranean, while also further solidifying COSCO's position in European shipping markets and its internalization and vertical integration strateg
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)636-654
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 3 March 2022.


  • State capitalism
  • Shipping and ports
  • Maritime silk road

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