PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (11): 1809-1821.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.11.003

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Spatial pattern and structure of networked logistics connection of cities in China based on express logistics branch data

TANG Chenghui1(), MA Xueguang2,*()   

  1. 1. School of Urban and Regional Science, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Shanghai 200433, China
    2. School of International Affairs and Public Administration, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, Shandong, China
  • Received:2019-10-10 Revised:2020-02-22 Online:2020-11-28 Published:2021-01-28
  • Contact: MA Xueguang;
  • Supported by:
    National Social Science Foundation of China(18BJL092)


As an important form of city relations, express logistics directly involves interurban material flows. Based on the data of multiple express logistics branches in 2019, this study analyzed the spatial pattern, characteristics, and structure of urban networks covering 336 urban administrative regions in China. The data were analyzed using GIS spatial analysis, social network analysis, Zipf law, and so on to reveal the features of China's urban system and regional development under globalization. The conclusions are as follows: 1) The spatial pattern of interurban logistics connection is hierarchical and imbalanced, and it shows the characteristics of westward decline due to the location conditions. 2) With regard to the overall connection, the density of the express logistics network is low and has a core-periphery structure, and the core area presents a small world characteristic with good accessibility and reciprocity. In addition, the intensity of agglomeration indicates the development trend of different urban agglomerations and reflects the radiation effect of core cities. 3) With regard to the local connection, provinces such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu have formed high-level network connection and clusters, and promoted cross-regional flow of resources. 4) With regard to the individual networks, the degree of urban connectivity conforms to the Zipf law with a double fractal. In addition, economic and population scales have a strong correlation with urban connectivity, and city administrative level also plays an important role. However, express logistics companies still need to strengthen their service capabilities to reduce the risk of under capacity during the peak period.

Key words: urban network, express logistics branches, interlocking world city network model, spatial connection, China