American Society of Civil Engineers


Improving Rail Service Between China and Central Asia


by Thomas L. Kennedy, (Transport Economist, 11 Grey Road, Glencairn Heights, Simons’ Town, 7975 South Africa)
Section: Transportation Policy and Management, pp. 117-124, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/40503(277)18)

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Traffic and Transportation Studies (2000)
Abstract: This paper explores the technical and institutional barriers that exist on the rail link between Xinjiang and the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. This rail line, opened in 1992, links China with Kazakhstan via Urumqi through the Alashankou Pass. This was to be the completion of the final link in the new "Chinese land bridge from Lianyungang on the eastern coast of China to western Europe markets. This "modern silk road" was to reduce transit times by half and costs by 20% compared with existing sea routes. However, many of the policies of the participating railways have been directed more towards national self-interests rather than promoting increased operational efficiency and regional cooperation..The goal of an efficient and competitive rail route across China, from the perspective of users, has not yet been achieved. However, there are actions that can be taken which would improve the route’s competitiveness as well as create more favorable conditions for economic development along the line of the railway. This paper evaluates the existing condition and institutional constraints for this Chinese "land bridge" route and describes needed actions that could transform this railway route into a strongly competitive land bridge railway line across China. Work undertaken during the course of research for this paper has been funded by the Asian Development Bank; part of their Technical Assistance for Regional Economic Cooperation in Central Asia.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Rail transportation
Asia
China
Transportation networks