Document Type



Center for Urban and Global Studies

Publication Date



Large-scale transport systems project expansive geographical reach via far-reaching connectivity and spillovers. This phenomenon, however, is understudied for its impact on economic and spatial relations across geographic scales and economic domains and the mechanism carrying and transmitting that impact. Despite its short existence, the China–Europe Freight Train (CEFT) has already created a long geographical reach and major impact on the transport landscape spanning China, Central Asia, and Europe. This paper argues that a new logistics state in China at the local level is driving and sustaining the CEFT from below relative to the national government and market forces. Using the ancient city of Xi’an as a characteristic embodiment of a logistics state, this paper demonstrates how the logistics state-driven CEFT has multiplied routes and redirected trade flows between China and Europe, reorganized inter-city and cross-border production and supply chains from China to Europe, stimulated a new geography of globally oriented and nationally rebalanced local consumption in China, and fueled major new development in an ancient and economically lagging city. The paper concludes on critical complications and implications from the Chinese local logistics state for the CEFT’s sustainability and future research.


Author's pre-print. Full text available after one year embargo from publication date, per publishers' policies (September 2022).

Published version available at:

Publication Title

Eurasian Geography and Economics





Available for download on Thursday, September 01, 2022