Freight Advice

We recommend you contact your forwarding agent about TRAIN FREIGHT between China and Europe.
Ensign Freight, DB Schenker, DSV, will surely quote you good prices for this ever growing delivery method.
They will advise you about best routes available for you.

Price is already quite workable from 5/10000 bags upwards.
For Shanghai the departure station is usually HEFEI.

Rail freight transport between China and Europe

Fast and cost-effective

Rail freight transport between China and Europe: A fast and cost-effective option
Alongside air and sea freight, rail freight transport is now an increasingly attractive way of sending goods between China and Europe. The main benefits are speed and cost. Rail freight transport is faster than sea freight, and more cost-effective than air freight.

Backed by investments from the Chinese government, the rail freight transport enables goods from northern and central China to be transported directly to many countries in Europe, in some cases with the last-mile delivery served by truck or short sea routes. We look at the advantages of rail freight transport between China and Europe, the main routes, and some practical considerations when shipping goods by rail.

Advantages of rail freight transport

Faster than a ship
The rail journey from China to Europe, from terminal to terminal, and depending on the route, takes between 15 and 18 days. That is roughly half the time it takes to move containers by ship.

With these shorter transit times, businesses can react more quickly to changing market demands. In addition, shorter transit times lead to more rotations and thus less stock in the supply chain. In other words, businesses can free up working capital and lower their capital costs.

Cost savings on interest payments on stock are another benefit. Rail is therefore an attractive alternative to sea freight for high-value electronic goods, for example.

Cost: Less costly than a plane
Sea freight offers the lowest costs, and is currently the preferred method of shipment to and from China. However, transit times are long. Thus, when speed is important, air freight comes into play, even though the costs are much higher.

Depending on the departure point, destination and volume, transporting a container from door to door by rail freight is roughly twice the cost of sea freight and a quarter the cost of sending goods by air.

For example: A 40-foot container can hold 22,000 kg of goods. By train, the cost would be around USD 8,000.
By sea, the same load would cost around USD 4,000 and by air USD 32,000.
In the past few years, rail has positioned itself directly between sea and air, being less costly than air freight and faster than shipping by sea.

Sustainability: More environmentally-friendly than air freight
Sea freight remains the most environmentally-friendly mode of transport. However, CO2 emissions for rail freight are significantly lower than for air freight, an argument which is becoming increasingly important.


Rail freight routes between China and Europe

There are two main routes for freight trains, with a number of sub-routes:

The southern route through Kazakhstan and southern Russia is most suited for freight to and from central China, e.g. the regions surrounding Chengdu, Chongqing and Zhengzhou.

The northern route through Siberia is ideal for container transport for the northern regions around Beijing, Dalian, Suzhou and Shenyang. In Europe, the most important terminals are Duisburg and Hamburg in Germany, and Warsaw in Poland.

Rail is ideal for businesses whose goods have a lifespan that is too short to allow shipment by sea. It is also interesting for low-margin products where air freight is too costly. The bulk of rail shipments from Asia to Europe are for industries such as automotive, consumer, retail and fashion, industrial manufacturing and technology. Most of the products are destined for Germany, the largest market, but deliveries also go to the surrounding countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Switzerland and sometimes stretch to the UK, Spain and Norway. 

The Barron Agency
Regus Business Centre
Metallimiehenkuja 10
02150 Espoo

Tel.  +358 (0)50 500 4300

E-mail:   ian@barron.fi

Shanghai Office
32H, #855 Pudong Nan Road
Pudong New Area, Shanghai
China    Zip 200120


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