Pandemic boosts China-Europe rail freight

Since the first such train was launched in 2011, numerous departure points have been added to the options 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.

Numerous BIFA members now offer rail freight services from China to the UK and anecdotal evidence suggests that they are going from strength to strength.