China-Europe rail freight boosted by pandemic

Date Added: 9 July 2020

We were interested to read in the online publication Container News that April was the busiest month to date for China-Europe freight trains with 976 trains setting off during the month - a 47% year-on-year increase.

Since the first such train was launched in 2011, numerous departure points have been added to the options that are available and the operation gained renewed momentum when China’s President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, with rail transport encouraged as an alternative to shipping.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has brought aviation to a standstill, shippers are seeing freight trains as a faster alternative to shipping. Particularly, as liner operators have blanked sailings to reduce capacity and maintain utilisation levels, shippers are presented both with cost and time constraints.

Davies Turner launched its own dedicated weekly fixed-day rail consol import service from China to the UK in November 2018 and has seen it go from strength to strength. Bookings have increased continually.
On departure from Wuhan, the rail service heads direct to Duisburg in Germany. Containers are then trucked under bond to the nearby port of Rotterdam for transport by ferry to Purfleet, near Dartford, thence for on-carriage by truck to Davies Turner’s regional distribution centres, where they are discharged, customs cleared and delivered.

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