In the face of scarce capacity and severe congestion, the China-Europe railway route has become an efficient alternative to traditional sea and air freight.
China Railways reports that there were 12,605 (+26% YOY) train trips carrying 1.22m TEU (+33% YOY) between January-October of this year. New services accounted for 35% of overall trips.
Although figures are positive, rail freight has faced a number of challenges, including:
- The higher frequency of trains, combined with disruption from COVID-19, creating delays at key border crossings and transhipment hubs
- Rising diplomatic tensions, with some countries threatening to suspend trains passing through
The refugee crisis on the Poland-Belarus border – where around half of all Chinese freight trains enter the EU – is the most recent challenge. Both countries are said to have threatened to suspend rail freight crossings. No action has yet been taken.
Despite this, transit times for China-Europe – which stretched to 30 days earlier in the year – have improved due to easing congestion and lower volumes.
Please contact our Customer teams with any enquiries relating to specific bookings.