The first direct freight train from China to Vienna

06. 04. 2018

We are intensifying Asian connections – the first Chengdu train is ready for the journey

The Chinese market is not new to us. We are already regularly using trains today to connect European trade routes with Asia. Now, we are putting on track a new connection that will bring goods to Europe even more quickly than before. In the course of the state visit the RCG Executive Board members Thomas Kargl and Erik Regter are in China to promote the wide-gauge project and to see off Chengdu’s first China train directly to Vienna. Be there and join us on its journey.

The new Silk Road is the biggest economic project in history. This is a Chinese billion-dollar infrastructure project to build a modern interconnection network from China to Europe. The Asian corridor and the strategic project play a key role for the Rail Cargo Group. The new Silk Road includes 65 countries with 70% of the world population. With investments from China, railways, ports and roads along the ancient Silk Road are now being built in order to create new trade routes between Asia, Africa and Europe. And that is where the Rail Cargo Group comes in. Because the road-based transport of goods from China is already growing explosively. Our goal now is to accelerate international corridor traffic with new, attractive logistics solutions.

5,000 Trains from China are rolling to Europe

What counts in competition today is speed. Therefore, we want to offer our customers reliable and fast logistics solutions. Since rail has a clear advantage. If door-to-door run time is considered, for example, the goods have a transport time of 60 days for pure sea freight, 25 days for sea-air freight and between 20 and 23 days for rail freight transport. We want to enable transportation from China to Central Europe in less than 15 days. In the course of the largest state visit in Austria´s history the Austrian Federal President Van der Bellen, together with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Ministries as well as ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä and the RCG Executive Board members Thomas Kargl and Erik Regter, is in China, on the one hand to strengthen the positive economic relations and, on the other hand, to sign cooperation agreements between the trading partners. Ninety five percent of the current freight volume between Asia and Europe has so far been transported mainly by container ship on the international maritime routes – in the future, this will likely occur increasingly by rail. The Chinese government has set a clear target in this regard. By 2020, a total of 5,000 trains will be rolling out of China to Europe every year, and at least half of them in the opposite direction. It is important to remember that since 2011 – when the first train left China – it took four and a half years for the number of trains from China to Europe to increase to 1,000. Today, 1,000 trains are driven every four months, which is enormous growth – including for us – so it is important to turn to rail efficiently and sustainably.

First Chengdu train is ready for the journey

Having been travelling with our high-frequency door-to-door transport systems not only in Europe, Russia and Turkey but also with three regular connections in China for many years, we are now intensifying our Asian offerings. On 12 April, we will also be launching a 600-meter-long container train from Chengdu, which is located in the heart of China. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province, is located on the Chinese Silk Road and the largest railway hub in China. From here most of the trains from China to Europe are handled.

In the next blog post, you will learn how our train is doing, which route it will take, what it is experiencing and with which partners we are bringing this six-nation-spanning train on track. Stay tuned – enjoy the anticipation!