Combination of Rail and Sea Is a Sustainable Trend of Alternative Transport

In the context of serious problems in the maritime transport industry (the rates and delivery time have increased, while the accurate forecasting has become impossible), the market of multimodal transport combined with rail and “short sea” is growing. The flow of goods from China to Europe via Baltic ports is increasing.

In 2021, 126.3 thousand TEU were transported between China and Europe via Kaliningrad region by rail, which exceeds container transportations in 2020 in this region 2.6 times. At the same time, the volume of multimodal container transport (by land and sea) made 84.2% of the total number (against 61.2% in 2020).

Xinhua News Agency reported a new cargo route – a train carrying 50 containers of electronics and goods for cross-border e-commerce departed from Xi’an International Port Station to St. Petersburg. After its arrival in St. Petersburg, the containers will be delivered to Mukran port in Germany by ship and then loaded on the train heading to the destination in Mannheim.

Back in August 2021, we wrote about the trend of diversifying supply chains from China to the east coast of North America by Russian railways and via Baltic ports.

At that time, OOCL logistics company announced the launch of a multimodal container service from China to US East Coast. The new service is a combination of train service from Xi’an to Kaliningrad, with onward feeder to Bremerhaven, and then with OOCL ocean services to various ports in North America. The route allows to avoid the high levels of traffic on the routes from Asia to the US West Coast and through the Panama Canal.