GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (5): 811-819.doi: 10.11821/yj2010050005

• Urban and Rural Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Rediscovering the geographical location of Harbin based on intercontinental air cargo logistics

XIU Chun-liang1, CHENG Lin1, SONG Wei2   

  1. 1. Department of Geography,Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China|
    2. Department of Geography and Geosciences, University of Louisville, KY40292, USA
  • Received:2009-07-10 Revised:2009-11-09 Online:2010-05-20 Published:2010-05-20


This paper examines Harbin's status in the Sino-U.S. air cargo logistics network, in comparison with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Singapore and Inchon, and explores the roles of Harbin in optimizing the network. The analysis is based on measures of accessibility, the examination of basic routes, and the optimization of the network. The analytical results demonstrate that: (1) Harbin has a much better level of accessibility in air cargo network between CAFTA and NAFTA as compared with other hub cities in China and Southeast Asia such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Singapore and Inchon. (2) Harbin is better positioned on the corridor where air routes are concentrated. (3) The establishment of Harbin hub can help optimize air cargo route network from China to North America. (4) Harbin and Inchon tend to be more similar with respect to geographical locations and air transport routes. Harbin is slightly more advantaged in its overall conditions. The paper concludes that: (1) Harbin is a major metropolis along the shortest aviation route between China and North America. China and the U.S. are both biggest countries of the world. Because air cargo logistics become more and more important, the unique location of Harbin in relation to intercontinental air route means great worth. (2) Harbin can be developed into the gateway city in the Sino-U.S. air cargo logistics network and has the potential to become an international air logistics hub as long as appropriate strategies and steps are taken, as well as cooperation and support are accessible. The establishment of Harbin hub will provide tremendous opportunity for its future development. (3) On top of the basic functionality of serving technical landing, additional transshipment functions can be developed at the airport, making Harbin a major gateway between China and the United States, and a key logistics hub in Sino-US air cargo. Harbin will become a more internationalized metropolis beyond its traditional standing as a central city in Northeast China. (4) In the context of rapid development of international air cargo logistics, cities' unique geographical locations have become even more important and should be re-evaluated.

Key words: urban geographical location, intercontinental air cargo logistics, accessibility, Harbin