Brigitte Hafner
is a communicator in the Rail Cargo Group
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International

Country Portrait China: Small world globally linked

The Rail Cargo Group covers markets in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe. Our target territory is growing all the time. Our network is extending further and further beyond European borders. As a leading rail logistics specialist, we already link trade routes from/in Europe to Asia.

The Rail Cargo Group has been en route internationally for many years already. With strong partners and subsidiaries throughout Europe, we offer transport links to Russia, Turkey and China.

With our high-frequency transport systems, we link Italy with Poland several times per week, as a hub into the CIS market. With our block train products, we leave daily for Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. We transport goods to Romania from economic regions in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Germany. We seamlessly link Poland to Istanbul-Halkali (Turkey) via Sopron, and our target territory also includes the sprawling site of the Antwerpen/Zeebrugge port. These are just a few examples of our high-frequency connections. However, our portfolio of services extends well beyond the borders of Europe.

After all, our customers increasingly expect to receive end-to-end logistics solutions. It is therefore important to also be present where our customers operate. Asia is a particularly interesting and exciting market for us. A large proportion of goods consumed in Europe originate from China. They mainly arrive here by ship, but an increasing volume is expected to be sent by rail as well in the future. The New Silk Road is a multi-billion-euro infrastructure project initiated by the Chinese with the aim of creating a modern network of transport links from China to Europe. It covers 65 countries that are home to 70 percent of the world’s population. Thus, a huge economic area is opening up there for us. We recently began sending the first direct container trains from China to Italy and back – an important milestone on route to internationalisation.

China banking on sustainable freight transport by rail

Our aim is to be transporting 150 million tonnes of goods per year  via rail by 2025. China is a market that promises additional volumes and new trains for Europe. The Chinese government has set a clear target: by the year 2020, 5,000 trains per year are to roll into Europe from China, and at least half this amount in the opposite direction. Ninety percent of these 5,000 trains will cross the Polish border at Malaszewicze. However, the border is completely overburdened already and will not be able to handle the rising volumes. Alternative routes from Europe must therefore be developed. For us, this will mean sending the trains coming from China to Europe via Kaliningrad in order to exploit the synergies and optimisations of our existing transport operations.

Competitive advantage through flexibility

With our own companies in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe and a high-quality network of partners, the Rail Cargo Group ensures safe, reliable and environmentally friendly shipments by rail. However, rail freight is not just favourable due to its lower impact on the environment: measured door-to-door, rail freight has a turnover period of between just 20 and 23 days – compared to 60 days for sea freight and 25 days for sea-air freight. Rail freight therefore leads the way in this sense – and is also cheaper than combined sea-air freight. Plus, the environmentally friendly version offers the advantage of being more flexible, especially in comparison to sea freight, which offers very little room for manoeuvre on-route. Rail makes it possible to respond in a much more agile manner. For example, we can simply unload a container at one of the hubs and send it via an alternative route.