Some initial benefits of integration can be seen. There is a trend of moving away from fragmented competition (分散竞争), and increasing orderly cooperation (有序协同). In recent years, the relationship between supply and demand has reached a more proportional level, and construction investment has experienced six consecutive years of negative growth. To further improve the potential of port development, one possible solution suggested by Xu Jianhua, a professor, and Lu Mengzhou, a postgraduate student from Shanghai Maritime University, is to learn from the Landlord Port Model and form its own landlord port model with Chinese characteristics to draw a clear line between the government and enterprise functions. This means that a local authority would authorize a public entity to plan, develop and build the port, and then the terminals to be leased to operators. This way, state influence would stay only at the planning level, while the market environment would lead the operation.
In addition to port competition and management issues, the relation between port and port city is also a question debated by Chinese experts. Port cities enjoy a natural geographical advantage, and cooperation between the port and the port city is in the interest of both. Port and port city should be developed simultaneously, with the ultimate goal to fuse the port and the port city (港城融合). Shi Ting, Chief Engineer of Guangzhou Port Group, summarized the typical characteristic of successful international ports as following: A port should foster production, production should enrich the city, hence both should prosper together (以港促产、以产兴城、港以城兴、港城共荣). That is not always the case in practice. Hebei province has been criticized to have failed to build cities and have social development hand in hand, leading to the problem of "Big Port and Small City" (港大城小), and in an extreme case, this is called "Big Port and No City" ( 港大无城). The port of Tangshan in Hebei province is a good example. The third Chinese port in terms of cargo throughput in 2018, it connects to the sea a city that still lags behind in terms of economic development.
In conclusion, Chinese ports now need to move from large-scale development to high-quality development, and the key lies in integration. The main challenge is to effectively bind together different interests (利益捆绑). This applies to port authorities and companies, but also to port and port city. Government incentives and involvement will not disappear completely, but at least a re-consideration of the level and method of involvement are required. Successful integration is only the first stage of this process of "becoming stronger".
 Tong MengDa, "China's Ports integration Shifts to Economic Integration(中国港口整合向以经济手段整合转变)", China Ports, No. 1, 2019
 "Understanding 30 Years of Chinese Port Development Through Container Transportation (从集装箱运输 看中国港口30年)", Zhongguo Gangkou Jizhuangxiang (China Port Container), 18 November 2016