China – Europe rail freight shoots up by 48% in May amidst the pandemic

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93,000 TEUs of container freight were transported between China and Europe in May, leading to a year-on-year increase of 48% in rail freight, as reported by China National Railway (CR).

CR also operated 1033 China – Europe freight trains in May which was 43% more than in May 2019, and also was the first time that hundred such trains have been operated in a single month.

The number of outbound trains from China in May culminated to 556 carrying 50,000 TEUs representing year-on-year increases of 47% and 52%, respectively. In comparison, 477 trains and 43,000 TEUs inbound from Europe to China were up 39% and 44% respectively year-on-year.

In February, capacity concerns came to the surface over a projected surge in demand, as China’s factories reopened and shippers desperately looked for alternatives to air and ocean modes of travel, but it appears any congestion was manageable, thanks to extra trains and services running.

In May, China – Europe trains transported 1.96 million items and 9381 tonnes of anti-coronavirus materials such as masks, first-aid kits, protective clothing, hand-held temperature monitors, and goggles.

Regular video conferences have been conducted between CR and the national railways of Belarus, Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Poland, and Russia during the COVID-19 epidemic in a bid to step-up the efficiency and logistics of the service and also reduce costs.

Since the start of 2020, some 200 trains have taken off from the trading centre of Yiwu in Zhejiang province, eastern China, transporting 16,672 twenty-foot-equivalent containers to 36 countries in Europe,  as stated by state news agency Xinhua. 

The link,that runs across 13,000km has proved to be a lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic, that resulted in air freight to shut down, and also severely affecting seaborne cargoes. This link was also instrumental in carrying anti-virus equipment for the fight against the pandemic..

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