The New Silk Road runs along the rails

The trains do not go full only from China, but more often also from Europe.

A set of wagons with containers loaded mainly with Czech goods will go on for about an eighteen-day journey. The train will transport for example domestic beer or porcelain. “So far is the first ride, we will see what other interest will be,” said Michael Wei Li of the company YXE – Yiwu Timex Industrial Investments. The train goes to Yiwu City, which has become one of the main bases from where trains run between China and Europe. Interest in such transportation is growing. It’s a cheaper option for customers than the plane. A higher price than the ship compensates for the transport time. The ship’s journey takes at least one month.

The trains do not go full only from China, but more often also from Europe. For example, the first link from Great Britain to China in May was fully loaded with dried milk. The Chinese are planning to send five thousand trains every year until the year 2020. They are trying to revive the former Silk Road under the name One Belt, One Road and improve the quality of the journey and driving time. The direct link between Europe and China has existed since 2013 and 4000 trains have passed between Europe and China since then.

Prague will become the sixteenth European city that has a direct connection with China by rail. Trains between China and Europe are still using two different routes: the southern part of the Trans-Siberian highway into northern China or via western China and Kazakhstan. According to company DB Schenker, trains from China mainly import components for the automotive industry and goods with a short delivery date. Rail transport manager Ondřej Jašek emphasizes other advantages: „These are often sensitive goods. There are much less shocks on the railways compared to sea transport. We are able to monitor track shocks in containers thanks of our developed device SmartBox“

For example, complete cars are coming from China by rail. The first train arrived to Belgium at the beginning of July with Volvo cars that were produced in China. Car maker has been transporting cars for 60 days by shipping until now. Train transport is about two thirds faster.  Carriers try to find a solution, how to get the goods on track, which is sensitive to the long journey of transportation. For example, the company JF Hillebrand, which is involved in the transport of beverages, has already tested a new wine container. This is due to different temperatures during the transportation, which can vary between freezing temperatures and hot temperatures over 40 degrees. It is also necessary to solve, for example, a problem with great shocks due to the poor condition of the track in some parts of the route. The company will also test what is the difference between the wine at the beginning of the journey and at the finish when the cargo is traveling by train, boat or airplane.

Author: Jan Sůra/iDnes.cz


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