Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (9): 1275-1287.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1525-6

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

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

Jiaoe WANG1,2(), Jingjuan JIAO3(), Li MA1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100049, China
    3. School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing 100044, China
  • Received:2018-01-04 Accepted:2018-03-05 Online:2018-09-25 Published:2018-09-25
  • About author:

    Author: Wang Jiaoe (1981-), Professor, specialized in transport and regional development. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    A Category of Strategic Priority Research National Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.XDA20010101;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41722103;Ministry of Education of Humanities and Social Science Youth Fund Project, No.17YJC790064


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-, medium- and 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.

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