The purpose of this study is to elucidate the formation process at a port space of local port. This kind of study is rare in geographical research, although ports have been greatly transformed in recent years. This study chiefly analyzes the issues of transportation mode and industrial structure in the port hinterland. Kushiro port, which is the largest port in eastern Hokkaido, is the selected study area. In this study, the following become clear.
At the beginning of reclamation, the head of a bay or a river mouth that had the calm waters was used for a port. For example, Kushiro Port, which is situated at the mouth of the Kushiro River, began to operate as port in the Edo era, and developed by incorporating its river valley into the hinterland. At that time, port was a stage on the trading beach. Mother ships could not reach the coast directly, because there were no loading facilities such as quays and loading machines. Therefore, cargoes were transported between mother ship and beach by barge.
A railway constructed from the port to the hinterland brought a large amount of cargo to the port. Port space was demanded in response. Then, instead of the past trading beach, a quay where barges were able to come alongside safely was constructed and the rail cargo line was connected to it. As the quay was constructed on the assumption of railway transportation, integration of railway and port was brought about. Hence, the town became separated from the port by the railway. In Kushiro, barge quays progressed along both sides of the Kushiro River, which had calm waters. This expanded the port space to the river area.
After World War II, urgent reclamation and economic growth brought rapid development of industry, and exports increased. Transport networks, whose main transportation mode was rail, developed further. The port responded to the increasing cargoes by constructing a pier along the coast in front of the town. Mother ships could then come alongside the pier. As this pier was constructed on the assumption of mass railway transportation, a large site for railway transportation was prepared at and behind the pier. This separated the port from the town. On the other hand, most of the former quays were deprived of loading functions and gradually declined. In Kushiro Port, two new piers were constructed along the coast in front of the urban area, and most of the quays along the Kushiro River declined. Kushiro Port in this era had the following features. The ratio of rail transport facilities occupying the port space was large. Rail transport facilities separated the port from the urban area. The vast storage facilities for coal, which reflected the industry in hinterland, were located behind the loading facilities.
Motorization, which started from about the mid- 1960's, brought the development of the road network and the decline of the railway network. Rapid economic growth changed the industrial structure in the hinterland. The development of motorization and changes in the industrial structure in the hinterland caused the port to respond by constructing a new port adjacent to the former port. This new port has the following characteristics. Large transportation spaces are prepared behind the piers for to truck transportation. Each pier is specialized for an industry in the hinterland. For example, each new pier of Kushiro Port specializes in oil industry, paper industry, and dairy farming.
Port functions moved consecutively from the old port to the new port. With the construction of the new port, the port space of the old port was reorganized. Port space near CBD became the target of waterfront development in Kushiro. New commerce, business, culture, and sightseeing facilities were constructed there. The loading function of the old port is seen at both ends of the old port however, in the greater part of the port space, sheds and warehouses became obsolete.
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