Tropical Geography


Intra-City Logistics Connection and Network Structure from the Perspective of Flow Space: A Case Study of Shenzhen City

Huan Zhou(), Jin Huang, Xiao Zou()   

  1. Hunan University of Technology, School of Business, Zhuzhou 412007, China
  • Received:2022-12-12 Revised:2023-03-18 Online:2023-09-21
  • Contact: Xiao Zou;


With the rapid development of lifestyle logistics in the service industry, such as e-commerce express and same-city delivery, new challenges have arisen in the planning and implementation of urban logistics freight and related industries. However, studies of existing urban logistics tend to focus on large-scale administrative areas, such as inter-provincial and city clusters, ignoring the importance of intra-city logistics networks. Traditional research methods are mostly based on static data to simulate inter-city logistics links, which makes it difficult to accurately and comprehensively reflect the intra-city logistics factor flows and their linkages. In response to these shortcomings, we adopted a method to track logistics in real time, by using truck GPS "flow data" across the city of Shenzhen. In addition, a community discovery model based on social networks was developed to identify important intra-city logistics nodes. The following conclusions are drawn. 1) There are 12 logistics hub nodes in Shenzhen, including the Songgang Industrial Zone, Yantian Port, and Pinghu Logistics Park, based on the infrastructure of large industrial clusters, advanced technology industrial zones, and integrated logistics parks. 2) Intra-city logistics activities are mainly concentrated on weekdays; in contrast, on weekends, logistics activities are severely inhibited by factors such as frequent activities of residents during holidays and delayed construction of planned roads. 3) The overall internal logistics linkage is weak, with logistics activities concentrated in the Guangzhou-Shenzhen axis, showing a spatial pattern of "dense in the west and sparse in the east", but the existing logistics infrastructure is mostly located in the central part of the city, which results in a misaligned layout of logistics activities heading west and logistics facilities being distributed in the middle. 4) The logistics linkage feature "heterogeneous attraction" is obvious: the logistics activities of different types of nodes tend to flow towards specific areas, gradually forming a logistics corridor with "airport-industrial area-coastal port-logistics park" as the axis. Intra-city logistics relies on the linkage of the corridor and forms a logistics corridor network model, with the corridor as the axis spreading to the periphery. 5) The intra-city logistics spatial organization can be divided into six subgroups, whose edge subgroups basically transfer logistics activities around the core subgroups, constituting a "core-edge" organization pattern. Taking these key results into consideration, we propose planning for high-quality development of intra-city logistics in Shenzhen, from three perspectives: reshaping the logistics space, adjusting planning, and cultivating new growth levels. The results of this study not only help to develop and improve the theoretical and methodological system of urban logistics network and deepen the understanding of intra-city logistics network construction, but also serve as a 'Shenzhen sample' for urban logistics development, with the goal of integrating Shenzhen into the world-class logistics hub of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Key words: space of flow, spatial relationships, intracity logistics, community detection, Social Network Analysis (SNA), Shenzhen City

CLC Number: 

  • F724.6