Sunday, 17 September 2017
China - Europe Rail Freight Hitting Air Cargo Business

Rising rail freight volumes between China - Europe now include more electronic goods, eating into air cargo totals.

"China and Europe rail freight services are no longer carrying volumes that can be ignored, and the air cargo sector must start taking the threat to its traffic seriously", Marco Bloemen, Senior Vice-President at air freight consultancy Seabury, told the International Air Transport Association World Cargo Symposium in Abu Dhabi (March 2017). 

He said the largest commodities carried by rail were raw materials with a 33% share, machinery parts at 16%, automotive at 15%, high tech at 12%, consumer goods  at 10% and fashion at 6%.

Overall growth also is being partly attributed to China's Belt and Road initiative (B&R), which aims to boost trade along the ancient Silk Road.   

"Depending on where the trains are heading to, it takes around 14-17 days, which is a very nice alternative compared with air freight that takes around five or six days and ocean freight that takes 35-40 days", Bloemen said.

The number of China - Europe freight trains recently reached 5,000, with 52 routes established between 32 Chinese cities and the same number of destinations in 12 European countries.

Hong Kong forwarder launches weekly rail service

Meanwhile, Hong Kong forwarder Tigers is adding a new weekly rail service between Asia and Europe, transporting goods east and westbound between Duisburg (Germany) and Hefei, Chongqing and Chengdu (China).  

Transit time is 16 days.  

Customers are able to charter entire trains and book full-container or less-than-container shipments.  

“We provide integrated logistics for customers who require shorter transit times than ocean freight and lower costs than airfreight, making Tiger Rail the perfect solution,” said Paul Huang, managing director Tigers China.

“We are currently preparing test shipments for European Union (EU) Business to Consumer (B2C) parcels and look forward to expanding our rail freight capabilities even further,” said Andrew Jillings, chief executive and group managing director Tigers.

Author: Martin Jop
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