The State of China’s Logistics Sector and the Role of Chinese Railways

Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


The current and future importance of logistics in China can only be truly understood against the background of China’s present economic situation. The fast development affects the country’s economic and political landscape and brings along social and macroeconomic transition challenges. Logistics, and transportation in particular, will play a crucial role in the way China will be able to handle these challenges. The railway as one of the most important means of both passenger and freight transport in the country already feels the changing environment and will have to meet even higher demands on its performance in the future. A thorough understanding of the changes Chinese Railways will have to face is an important prerequisite for designing suitable reform and efficiency improvement measures in order to make the railway fit for those future changes. Therefore, an introduction to China’s present economic situation and its particular transition challenges will be given. The logistics sector and the special role of Chinese Railways within this logistics sector will be explained thereafter.


Foreign Direct Investment World Trade Organization Human Development Index Foreign Direct Investment Inflow Logistics Sector 


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  1. 4.
    As a composite index, the HDI contains three variables: life expectancy at birth, educational attainment (adult literacy and combined primary, secondary, and tertiary enrolment) and real GDP per capita (in PPP USD) (Stockholm Environment Institute; UNDP China 2002: A4; UNDP 2005: 214). The HDI should be used with caution though: measurement is an evolving methodology, and comparisons should not be made between years (when methods might have varied) but can rather be made between countries, as issued by the same source (Health Systems Trust 2004).Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Early logistics definitions usually had a military context. The military definition of logistics describes it as the science of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of forces [...] those aspects of military operations that deal with the design and development, acquisition, storage, movement, distribution, maintenance, evacuation and disposition of material; movement, evacuation, and hospitalization of personnel; acquisition of construction, maintenance, operation and disposition of facilities; and acquisition of furnishing of services (LogisticsWorld 2004).Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    In addition, strategic goals are mentioned for logistics, such as flexibility, reduction of costs in the system and added value to the subject of logistics (Göpfert 1999: 21).Google Scholar

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© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2008

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