New Normal: Looking at growth of China-EU rail freight links today

Release date: 2019-12-24
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CHINA-EU rail freight that boggled the mind 10 years ago is settling into a new normal between cheap and slow ocean freight and fast and costly air freight.

Becoming old and established between northern China and the Netherlands is the Chengdu-Tilburg-Rotterdam Express run by GVT Intermodal Freight Management.

Trains from Chengdu to Rotterdam take 15 days against sea voyage of 45 days and seven days by air door to door. Rail freight is a quarter of the cost of air freight and less than double that of sea freight.

'We transport four to five trains per week to Chengdu from Rotterdam,' said GVT general manager Roland Verbraak, with each train carrying 41 FEU.

'The products we carry westbound are electronics, shoes and many kinds of products which are produced too late in China and then the train is used as alternative for air freight. These are transported LCL and FCL container volumes,' said Mr Verbraak, in an email to the Hong Kong Shipping Gazette.

Mr Verbraak they carry cars, wine, beer and machinery and reefers move pharmaceuticals and agricultural products.

'On the Chengdu line we also transport a certain percentage to Norway, UK, Ireland and Portugal,' he said.

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