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International Journal of Logistics
Research and Applications
Global Logistics Distribution Centres and Infrastructure in the e-Commerce Era

Deadline: 30 June 2022

Guest editors

  • Prof. Paul Tae-Woo Lee (Lead Guest Editor), Ocean College, Zhejiang University, China. Email: paultaewoo.lee@zju.edu.cn

  • Prof. Yong Jin Kim, Asia Pacific School of Logistics, Graduate School of Logistics, Inha University, Korea. Email: yongjin@inha.ac.kr

  • Prof. Hwa-Joong Kim, Asia Pacific School of Logistics, Graduate School of Logistics, Inha University, Korea. Email: hwa-joong.kim@inha.ac.kr

  • Associate Prof. Xuehao Feng, Ocean College, Zhejiang University, China. Email: fengxuehao@zju.edu.cn

  • Professor Prem Chhetri, Department of Supply Chain and Logistics Management, RMIT University, Australia. Email: prem.chhetri@rmit.edu.au 

Overview of the special issue 

E-commerce markets have seen significant growth in the past two decades and the growth was accelerated in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Global e-commerce sales reached nearly $4.29 trillion in 2020 with a growth rate of 24.1% year-over-year (https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/global-ecommerce-sales/). The rapid growth of e-commerce markets is having a significant impact on the location choices and demand of logistics infrastructures (Lim and Shiode, 2011). 

Global logistics distribution centres (GLDCs) have been proposed along the Belt and Road (Lee, 2020) to enhance distribution efficiency. A GLDC is generally defined as a spatial accumulation of logistics functions and services to support global supply chain networks. It is often built on a logistics facility, e.g., a container terminal or port and connected through road and rail networks and shipping linkages. The complex and large-scale maritime networks, therefore, can be accessed through the GLDC network, which also provides connections to national, regional and metropolitan economies. Therefore, GLDCs perform services such as consolidation, warehousing, packaging, decomposition, assembly and labelling, and light manufacturing to support global or regional distribution of freight. Their main purpose is to provide value-added services to global supply chains passing through the global freight network, and in doing so, to contribute to the regional and local economic growth, job creation and logistics cost reduction. In other words, the function of each GLDC is subject to the market it serves, economic situation within which it operates and international trade pattern that it creates with other nations. The main role of GLDCs is similar to logistics distriparks and free trade/industrial zones in tandem with the global or regional distribution of freight. The latter contributes to regional economic development in association with the transfer of production lines from Asia and other economies. The former contributes to sustainability of the global freight network and geographic accessibility to regional and international markets. GLDCs may play a key role as places where the potential value of ‘intermediacy’ and ‘centrality’ are harnessed to serve the globalized economy via locational advantage along international logistics routes and intermodal transportation hubs (Lee, 2018).

Hence, the above functions of GLDCs including warehousing, storage, and inventory management, play a significant role in e-commerce, e-tailing and omni-channel logistics. Many retail stores are taking advantage of adjacency to GLDCs to gaining efficiency in last-mile logistics. Having said that, the growth of e-commerce promotes the functions of global supply chains, utilizing mass-transport freight system to distribute goods from GLDCs to regional/local markets to activate customer home delivery system in the e-commerce era (Kim et al. 2014). In doing so, the logistics infrastructure in tandem with e-commerce needs to be developed, and digitally transformed to manage the scale and scope of freight movement in a globalised marketplace.

However, existing special issues on international logistics, supply chains, and maritime transport and logistics, railway and air transport have not dealt with GLDCs and e-commerce logistics infrastructure in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) (e.g., Cullinane et al., 2018; Lee et al., 2018; Lee et al., 2020a and 2020b; Wang et al., 2020). Although a number of papers related to e-commerce in the field of supply chains and cross-border transportation, to the authors’ best knowledge, none of them has addressed e-commerce in GLDCs in the context of the BRI-led logistics infrastructure development. Therefore, this special issue (SI) focuses on research bridging the gap between prevalent theories and current practices of establishing GLDCs and logistics infrastructure in the e-commerce era. Thus, this SI aims to fill up the research gap by supporting the publication of relevant studies that explore and introduce new trends, practices, challenges, and foresights of GLDCs and e-commerce logistics infrastructure. 

First, the novelty of this SI is to highlight the strategic value of GLDCs in the globalised economy in association with e-commerce logistics infrastructure. Having considered several stakeholders of global supply chains and transparency and security of data among them, AI and blockchain technology are to be applied for GLDCs. Referring to the chokepoints and bottlenecks in the global freight transport system, contingency plans and proactive measures are to be studied by applying AI in e-commerce and by information sharing among the GLDCs and stakeholders in global supply chains. GLDCs can also mitigate disruptions in global supply chains through smart use of their warehousing, inventory, packaging, and assembly functions via cloud-based integrated digital systems. The second novelty of this SI is to lead research in securing autonomy, security and control of intermodal transportation networks with LDCs with help of e-commerce logistics infrastructure. This SI welcomes research employing data analytics, machine learning, block-chain technique, digital-twin technique, optimization, multi-criteria decision making, and so on.

This special issue invites research papers on following themes, but not limited to:

  • Development strategy of global logistics distribution centres (GLDCs)

  • Development strategy of e-commerce logistics infrastructure 

  • Network analysis of GLDCs along the Belt and Road

  • E-commerce logistics network analysis

  • AI and Blockchain application for building GLDC networks 

  • Collaborations and connections of supply chains in logistics spatial shift

  • Mitigating global supply chains disruptions through GLDCs 

  • Sustainability of GLDCs in the global supply chains

  • Intensive logistics development for sustainable land use.

  • Securing autonomy, security and control for GLDCs

  • Intermodal transportation networks with GLDCs

  • E-commerce order fulfilment strategies

  • Demand management of e-commerce home delivery service

  • Data analytics and digital twin technique for e-commerce warehouse management 

  • Systematic framework development for GLDCs 

  • Supply-demand mismatch in e-commerce warehousing

  • E-commerce cold-chain monitoring

  • Connectivity of GLDCs to regional markets

  • Impacts of COVID-19 on international logistics and supply chains in tandem with e-commerce

  • Green development of GLDCs with AI and Blockchain technologies


  • Cullinane, K.P.B., Lee, P.T.-W., Yang, Z. Hu, Z-H., 2018. China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Transportation Research Part E, 117, 1-4. 

  • Kim, S. J., H. Lim, and M. Park. 2014. Analysing the Cost Efficiency of Parcel Distribution Networks with Changes in Demand. International Journal of Urban Sciences 18(3), 416-429.

  • Lee, P. T.-W., Suthiwartnarueput, K., Li, K. X., Ge Y.-E., 2020a. Impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative on Global Supply Chains and International Logistics. International Journal of Logistics Management, 31(4), 725-727. 

  • Lee, P.T-W. 2020. China’s Overseas Logistics Distribution Center Development. Yangtze River Research Innovation and Belt (Y-RIB) Workshop, University of Wuhan Technology, Wuhan, China, 19 December 2020.

  • Lee, P.T-W., Lee, S-W., Feng, X.H., 2018. Challenges and chances of the Belt and Road Initiative at the maritime policy and management level, Maritime Policy & Management, 45(3), 279-281. 

  • Lee, P.T-W., Suthiwartnarueput, K., Zhang, D., Yang, Z., 2020b. Impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on maritime transport and global logistics. International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 23(6), 521-524. 

  • Lim, H. and N. Shiode. 2011. The Impact of Online Shopping Demand on Physical Distribution Networks: A Simulation Approach. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management 41(4), 732-749. 

  • Wang, X., Wong, Y.D., Li, K.X., Yuen, K.F., 2020. Transport research under Belt and Road Initiative: current trends and future research agenda. Transportmetrica A: Transport Science, 17(4), 357–379.

Publication schedule

  • Full manuscript submission by: 30 June 2022

  • Review process will begin once submission has been made. 

  • Final manuscript decision: No more than 6 months after submission. 

Submission information

Manuscripts will be subject to a rigorous review process under the supervision of the Guest Editors and Editor-in-Chief, and accepted papers will be published online before print publication. This SI welcomes conference papers submitted at “The 10th International Conference on Logistics and Maritime System” (LOGMS 2021) in October 2021 via www.logms2021.com and Asian Logistics Round Table in June 2022. It is also open to papers in the above listed themes, which are submitted via IJLRA website. Regarding the submission guidelines and other details, authors should refer to the details on the journal website. 

Please make sure you indicate that your manuscript is for the "Global Logistics Distribution Centres and Infrastructure in the e-Commerce Era" SI when prompted in the submission portal. 

Guest editors’ biography
Prof. Paul Tae-Woo Lee is currently a Professor of Maritime Transport and Logistics and Director of Maritime Logistics and Free Trade Islands Research Centre at Ocean College, Zhejiang University, China. He holds a PhD degree from Cardiff University, UK. He has published 8 books and more than 300 journal and conference papers, and edited 25 special issues of distinguished international journals, including 12 issues regarding the Belt and Road Initiative studies. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Journal of International Logistics and Trade, and Associate Editor of Transportation Research Part E, and Book Editor of Elsevier’s China Transportation Series. 

Prof. Yong Jin Kim is currently a professor of Asia Pacific School of Logistics and Graduate School of Logistics at Inha University in Korea. He also serves as Director of Jungseok Research Institute of International Logistics and Trade. He was educated at the Seoul National University where he was awarded the BS and MS degree in the urban engineering. He holds a PhD degree at the University of Texas at Austin in US, majoring transportation and logistics System. 

Prof. Hwa-Joong Kim is a Professor in Asia Pacific School of Logistics and Graduate School of Logistics at Inha University in Korea. His research interests focus on operational issues in supply chain management and maritime studies. His publications appear in leading international journals, among others, International Journal of Logistics Research and Applications, Journal of the Operational Research Society, International Journal of Production Research, Transport Policy, Maritime Economics and Logistics, and Maritime Policy & Management.

Associate Prof. Xuehao Feng is an Associate Professor at Zhejiang University. He obtained his doctoral degree from Pusan National University. Dr. Feng’s research domain contains port management, container shipping network optimization, and supply chain management. He published 16 papers on international journals such as Transportation Research Part E, Transportation Research Part A, Omega, and so on. Dr. Feng is an Associate Editor of the SSCI journal Maritime Policy & Management. He also served as the guest-editor of special issues of Transportation Research Part A and Maritime Policy & Management. 

Prof. Prem Chhetri is the Head of Department of Supply Chain and Logistics Management at RMIT University. He holds a PhD degree from RMIT University, Australia. He has extensive national and international experience in leading major projects, including numerous Australian Research Council projects. His publications include: Transportation Research Part D, Part E, OMEGA, International Journal of Logistics Management, and Maritime Policy & Management. He was a contributor to two EU funded projects WEATHER (Weather Extremes – Impacts on Transport Systems and Hazards for European Regions) and MOWE-IT (Management of Weather Extremes on Transport Systems).