Rail Remains 3.5 Times Cheaper Than Sea Freight

In 2021, container shipments by rail from China to the EU increased by 1.5 times year-on-year.

“The pandemic will provide long-term support for Europe-Asia rail transport. Many companies and importers have switched to rail transport gaining confidence in it. After the pandemic, some of them will probably return to their original solutions, while others will continue using railways,” as Jakub Jakobowski, from the Centre of Eastern Studies, told Trans.INFO last year.

In the first six month of 2021, 2755 trains were dispatched on Eurasian routes. This is 44% more than in the previous year and 99% more than in 2019.

Train load factor has also changed significantly. This year, the number of empty containers on all routes has decreased to 6%, while from the EU to China it has fallen to 14%. To recap, trains from the EU to China were 46% empty back in 2017 and until 2019.

In the first 6 month of the year, 59 new routes were added to Eurasian corridors – 15 from Europe to China and 44 from China to the EU.

Last year, the two indices, the rail ERAI and the sea WCI, saw the levelling. And since then, rail transport has not only become faster than sea transport, but also cheaper, as “United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance” reports. On average, rail remains 3.5 times cheaper than sea freight.

Sources: RZD-Partner, Trans.info