Transcontinental Railways – Fact or fiction?



Back in 2011, the first transportation of a good by rail transport between Chongqing in China and Antwerp in Belgium was carried out. It marked the start of a new project , launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, called “Belt and Road Initiative”. 

The end goal of is to create a new Silk Road which would stimulate trade by facilitating the transportation of goods from Asia (mainly China) to Europe, with the support of new infrastructures.
Since 2016, new destinations have been added to the itinerary. For example, from Shanghai or Beijing, to Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and France.

Who should jump on board?

This mode of transport can be helpful for shippers who have flows from Asia to Europe or Europe to Asia. Transit time is shorter than for ocean freight, with a slightly higher cost. So, if you import a lot of goods and a short transit time is mandatory, this solution might just be perfect for you!
Some examples of routing:

  • Zhengzhou – Hamburg : 15 days
  • Chongqing – Duisburg : 15 days
  • Yiwu – Madrid : 20 days
  • Suzhou – Duisburg : 18 days 
  • Wuhan – Hamburg : 19 days

Any other advantages?

I’m glad you asked, yes there are other benefits:

  • Flexibility: A lot of services and container types can be used, including door-to-door services from China, Japan, Korea to and from Europe. You can ship temperature controlled products, with reefer containers, and of course all kinds of container sizes.
  • Sustainability: With environmental issues an increasing concern for most businesses, this mode of transport will be a good opportunity to reduce your CO2 impact, compared to air freight or ocean freight.
  • Time saving : As I mentioned above, shorter transit times are real benefit and can be 50% shorter than to ocean freight and although they are more expensive, it’s still cheaper than air transport…
  • Cost reduction: Using a train instead of air freight, will save you around 50% of your budget !
  • Clarity: And of course, most of the time, you will be given an all in quotation. That means excellent visibility on what you can expect to pay at the end!

How can TenderEasy support you?

At TenderEasy, we have built-in templates to support your rail transport initiatives. We also have plenty of experience when it comes to spotting opportunities and thinking outside the box! Moving from ocean or air freight to rail, can be the sweet spot between cost-effective, yet timely deliveries and doing your bit to help the planet.

Drop me a line on to hear how some of our clients are making the most of rail services.