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.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited