New eastbound London-China rail service
11 / 04 / 2017
The number of rail services between China and Europe that target airfreight customers increased again yesterday when Kerry Logistics and a series of other companies came together to launch an eastbound operation.
The first of the new services left DP World’s London Gateway terminal yesterday as it set off on a three week journey that will cover 7,500 miles before arriving in Yiwu in the Zhe Jiang province in eastern China.
Products on board include soft drinks, vitamins, pharmaceuticals and baby products.
This inaugural export train bound for China departed just under three months after the first ever import train from China arrived in the UK.
The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme that aims to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes to the West.
After passing through the Channel Tunnel into France and Belgium, the DB Cargo locomotive will call in Duisburg, Germany, before InterRail pulls the cargo through Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan before the train crosses to Yiwu, China.
Container operator OneTwoThree Logistics is overseeing the transportation and booking of cargo for the UK/China rail freight trains, in conjunction with Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment Co, which is running the service with China Railway Container.
Kerry Logistics is also involved in selling the service as it looks to expand into multimodal and rail services. London is the 15th European destination to be added to the China-Europe rail operation and volumes are expanding quickly.
At the recent World Cargo Symposium, Seabury Group senior vice president Marco Bloemen said that rail freight services were “no longer carrying volumes that can be ignored”.
Seabury figures show that rail volumes have increased at a compound annual growth rate of 65% between 2013 and 2016 and last year reached 511,000 tonnes.