Rail freight from China going straight into the heart of Scandinavia

By Nick Winther Graversen, June 22, 2017

At Greencarrier Freight Services, we have been offering our customers FCL and LCL rail services between China and Europe for years – always on the lookout for new ways to improve our services. With the environment constantly in focus and vast experience of the Far East trade, we are happy to announce that the first container trains to directly link China and Scandinavia are now a reality.

Increased demand for rail freight between China and Europe

We see a big increase in demand for rail freight between Asia and Europe, and more freight forwarders are stepping up their services. In 2016, about 1800 block trains transported goods between China and Europe, and by 2020, the expectations are 5000. Also, customers’ expectations have changed – they are looking for more than just a regular transport solution. Of course, cost is always a factor to consider but, moreover, the customers want to use a freight forwarder that transports the goods in a sustainable way.

With our new rail ontainer train service, we can offer a mode of transport that brings both environmental and cost benefits to our customers, particularly in Sweden.

The first container trains to directly link China and Scandinavia

With our new rail service, we can now transport goods all the way from China, through Russia and Belarus, to Sweden by rail. Previously, the goods were cross-docked at our warehouse in Karpin, just outside Warsaw in Poland, before taken onwards by road to the final destination. With our new service, the containers are unloaded in Hamburg in Germany and reloaded onto rail waggons for onward transportation to Scandinavia and our new hub in Hallsberg in Sweden. The lead time from Hamburg to Hallsberg is only a few days.

At the moment, we are only operating FCL (Full Container Load) via this setup in Hamburg.  But we are investigating the possibilities to send LCL (Less than Container Load) as well.

Reducing CO2 emissions with a smart rail freight set-up

At Greencarrier Freight Services, the environment is our main focus. We always strive to develop our services in favour of the environment and a more sustainable future. We want to be top of mind for sustainable transport solutions in our home market. Our new rail service is part of our concept Green Smart Transport Solutions. The purpose is to reach our target to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent by the end of 2017 compared to 2015.

With our new rail service, due to fewer miles on trucks and utilising rail a longer way, we can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 20 percent compared to the previous setup via Warsaw!

China increases trade with Europe by reviving the ancient Silk Road

In general, when ordering goods from China to Europe, it is not unusual that the delivery time is more than a month. But according to China’s new international logistics project, this is about to change. China has decided to increase trade with Europe by reviving the ancient Silk Road, with multi-billion USD investments for various infrastructure projects for both maritime and land transport in multiple countries.

This major investment includes more than 50 rail connections between European cities and Chinese metropolises. Geographically, the venture comprises 65 countries and is funded by several international players, including multilateral financial institutions.

The new Silk Road will not only cut delivery times in half but, moreover, bring a great eco-friendly rail freight alternative to the long lead times of sea freight and the high costs of air freight.

The future of the China-Europe rail freight corridor

Based on my experience of having spent two years with Greencarrier Freight Services in Shanghai, gaining lots of knowledge of market demand and how to manage the flow of trans-European rail freight, I am very confident about the future of the China-Europe rail freight corridor. Rail will become even more sustainable, and I can only expect the demand to grow!

What are your thoughts on rail freight and the future? Let me know in the comments! Also, read Sweden added to China-Europe overland route or visit our website for more info about our rail freight in particular or transport solutions in general.

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