Rail network analysis for coal transportation in China
Coal transportation on the Chinese railways is known as a potential bottleneck for development. In this dissertation, several aspects of the issue are considered in conjunction with the railway's economic and planning system. First, the historical background of rail network development in China after 1949 is examined. The rail network development shows an oscillation of politics in each period, in particular, the diplomatic relations with the neighboring countries. From 1949 to 1980, the government focused new line construction on remote area with ethnic minority groups to promote national integration. Since the new line construction had not been based on economic rationality, the current relationship between supply and demand remain unbalanced. Second, the planning system in the Socialist economy is investigated to seek a cause of inefficiency in the operational aspect. Because the railroad sector is motivated to achieve objective numbers, such as ton-km, it has not taken heed of productivity and profitability. Even under the current transition towards a market economy, the new system remains based mainly on physical term indicators. Third, coal transportation is analyzed by using network optimization models. This part comprises three topics. The first topic, the linear assignment model, analyzes an optimal flow with the given origins and destinations. It adopts two types of capacity constraints: finite and infinite. This model estimates the twenty percent of the total coal movement is unnecessary and can be eliminated under optimized conditions. The second topic, nonlinear assignment, develops an original link cost performance function to incorporate time factors. It analyzes the optimal assignment to minimize the delivery time. This assignment requires an additional five percent increase over the linear assignment with capacity constraints. The third topic analyzes the relationship between coal prices and tariffs. Since the southwestern coal is more costly than that of the other regions, it cannot attract consumers. For coal consumers, cost is a total of coal price itself and transportation cost. This topic develops a conversion scale to include financial factors in the linear assignment model. A price reduction for southwestern coal can attract more consumers and reduce the total coal movement on rail.
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