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Belt and Road Initiative and Railway Sector Efficiency—Application of Networked Benchmarking Analysis

Weidong Li () and Olli-Pekka Hilmola ()
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Weidong Li: School of Economics & Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing 100044, China
Olli-Pekka Hilmola: School of Economics & Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing 100044, China

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 7, 1-21

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a lot of attention paid to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to invest in better connecting China, South-East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. As countries that share the same continent, and are in many cases without proper sea connection (landlocked), the key mode of long-distance transportation is railways. However, numerous countries have different levels of past investments, labor productivity, transportation profile, and culture surrounding railways, and all of this leads to differences in overall efficiency. In this research, we apply well established and widely used data envelopment analysis (DEA) to evaluate the longitudinal efficiency of railway operations. This is the first time such an analysis is completed on the Belt and Road member countries. Efficiency itself hardly improved at all during the examination period, whether in passenger and freight or just freight transports. China itself represents an important benchmark for many countries, as its efficiency is all the time highest possible. In the network benchmarking analysis, it was shown that China, Estonia, Latvia, and Israel are often proposed benchmarks for the others to increase their efficiency in the future. From efficiency development perspective, Chinese railway sector is beneficial and more balanced to be benchmarked as compared to other significantly sized railway countries, like India or Russia.

Keywords: belt and road; railways; efficiency; networks; benchmarking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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