Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 28, Issue 9, pp 1275–1287 | Cite as

An organizational model and border port hinterlands for the China-Europe Railway Express

  • Jiaoe Wang
  • Jingjuan Jiao
  • Li Ma


Facilities connectivity is a priority area for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The “China-Europe Railway Express” (CER Express) mode of transport organization links China with Europe by fast-track cargo rail. A major instance of facilities connectivity related to this project is an important practical and symbolic instance of BRI transport cooperation. The strategic significance of the CER Express and a number of operational issues are outlined, as are the implications of limited market potential for costs and competitiveness. A “hub-and-spoke” organizational model that can generate scale economies and reduce costs is proposed. To examine the establishment of an organizational model of this kind, the economic hinterlands of Alashankou, Erenhot, and Manzhouli are identified under high-, mediumand low-cost scenarios using an analytical methodology that determines distance and economic costs, and a number of transport hubs (that include Harbin, Zhengzhou, and Lanzhou) are identified. The results found that the cost of the routes from 314 Chinese cities to Moscow is the lowest via Manzhouli in the high- and medium-cost scenarios, but the routes change via Erenhot in the low-cost scenario. A number of policy recommendations should follow up.


China-Europe Railway Express cross-border transportation via land routes Belt and Road Initiative facilities connectivity hub-and-spoke model 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chen Rong, Shi Guojin, 2015. Thoughts on creating China-Europe block train with concept of “One Economic Belt, One Silk Road”. Railway Transport and Economy, 37(11): 71–74. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  2. Fu Xinping, Zhang Xue, Zou Min et al., 2016. Analysis on economics of China-Europe block trains based on the value model. Railway Transport and Economy, 38(11): 1–5, 11. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  3. Gong Peiping, Song Zhouying, Liu Weidong, 2015. Commodity structure of trade between China and countries in the Belt and Road Initiative area. Progress in Geography, 34(5): 571–580. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  4. Hu Angang, Ma Wei, Yan Yilong, 2014. Connotation, definition and passage of “Silk-road Economic Belt” strategy. Journal of Xinjiang Normal University (Edition of Philosophy and Social Sciences), 35(2): 1–11. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. Jin Fengjun, Wang Chengjin, 2005. Hub-and-spoke system and China aviation network organization. Geographical Research, 24(5): 774–784. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  6. Lee J Y, 2004. Iron Silk Road: Prospects for a land bridge through Russia from Korea to Europe. Post-Soviet Affairs, 20(1): 83–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Li Jiafeng, 2016. Study on countermeasures of optimizing China-Europe block trains under “the Belt and Road” strategy. Railway Transport and Economy, 38(5): 41–45. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  8. Liu Weidong, 2015. Scientific understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative of China and related research themes. Progress in Geography, 34(5): 538–544. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  9. Liu W D, Dunford M, 2016. Inclusive globalization: Unpacking China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Area Development and Policy, 1(3): 323–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lü Chengchao, Xu Qian, 2015. Space disequilibrium and interconnection policy for transportation infrastructure in new Silk Road Economic Belt. Journal of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, 17(2): 44–53, 85. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  11. Mo Huihui, Wang Jiaoe, Song Zhouying, 2015. Economically suitable areas of China’s transnational container transport by land in the Silk Road Economic Belt. Progress in Geography, 34(5): 581–588. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  12. Otsuka S, 2001. Central Asia’s rail network and the Eurasian Land Bridge. Japan Railway & Transport Review, 28: 42–49.Google Scholar
  13. Rodrigue J P, Comtois C, Slack B, 2013. The Geography of Transport Systems. 3rd ed. London, UK & New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Song Zhouying, Che Shuyun, Wang Jiaoe et al., 2015. Spatiotemporal distribution and functions of border ports in China. Progress in Geography, 34(5): 589–597. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Vinokurov E, Tsukarev T, 2017. The Belt and Road Initiative and the transit countries: An economic assessment of land transport corridors. Area Development and Policy, doi: 10.1080/23792949.2017.1385406.Google Scholar
  16. Wang Chengjin, 2008. Spatial organizational network of Logistics Company in China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 63(2): 135–146. (in Chinese)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wang J E, Cheng Y, Mo H H, 2014. The spatio-temporal distribution and development modes of border ports in China. Sustainability, 6(10): 7089–7106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wang Jiaoe, Jing Yue, Wang Chengjin, 2017. Study on better organization of China-Europe express train. Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 32(4): 370–376. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  19. Wang Jiaoe, Wang Han, Jiao Jingjuan, 2015. China’s international aviation transport to the Belt and Road Initiative area. Progress in Geography, 34(5): 554–562. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  20. Wang Yangkun, 2015. Status, problems and suggestions on development of Sino-Europe block trains. China Transportation Review, 37(Suppl.1): 70–75, 89. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  21. Xie Ye, 2016. Economic analysis and prospective of Sino-Europe block trains. Shipping Management, 38(7): 14–17. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  22. Xu S, 1997. The new Asian-Europe land bridge: Current situation and future prospects. Japan Railway & Transport Review, 14: 30–33.Google Scholar
  23. Zheng Lei, Liu Zhigao, 2015. Spatial pattern of Chinese outward direct investment in the Belt and Road Initiative area. Progress in Geography, 34(5): 563–570. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  24. Zou Jialing, Liu Chunla, Yin Guoqing et al., 2015. Spatial patterns and economic effects of China’s trade with countries along the Belt and Road. Progress in Geography, 34(5): 598–605. (in Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchCASBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Economics and ManagementBeijing Jiaotong UniversityBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations