UTLC notified that the European section of the carrier and border station capacity constraints caused congestion at the port of passage of broad rail plates, leading to board detention charges.
Alexey Grom, president of UTLC ERA, the largest operator of the outbound segment of china-Europe freight trains, said rail transit traffic between China and Europe had grown faster than expected, "two years ahead of our expectations," and would still grow 20 percent this year.
Mr Grom attributed the high growth to a number of factors: global shipping setbacks in this first half year , including the blockade of the Suez Canal, which saw shipping prices quadruple while rail prices remained stable. Rail operators are also developing new services and adapting their infrastructure to cope with the growth in business volumes as they digitize their operations, he said.
"The past year and a half has seen an unexpected boom in Eurasian rail traffic. For many trading companies in Europe and China, this mode of transport has become an alternative to sea and road transport. Of course, this is also due to its increased speed and reliability, as well as relatively stable rates."
However, a recent industry source said: "UTLC notified that the European section of the carrier and border station capacity constraints caused congestion at the port of passage of broad rail plates, leading to board detention charges. Therefore, from September 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, the rates for the broad gauge segment will be increased!" Several platforms and operators have been notified of UTLC price increases.
The company, a joint venture between the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh state railways, is responsible for 90 percent of the current container cargo transit in the broad gauge section between Central Europe.
In 2016, UTLC's transit cargo volume was 100,983TEU; By 2020, that number had grown to 547,000TEU, up 64% from the previous year. In 2020, the total value of goods transported by UTLC between China and Europe reached us $31.5 billion, accounting for about 5.5% of the total trade between China and Europe.
According to UTLC, China (export) has always been a strong driver of china-Europe transit transport. In the first half of this year, were shipped from China to Europe, up 42% year on year. Eastbound transport increased by 80% to 116,500TEU (note: only the data from Alasan Pass and Khorgos, and transit from Brest and Kaliningrad ports are included).
In 2020, the UTLC added 64 new routes, including 40 westbound and 24 eastbound, and 23 new cargo yards, 18 of which are in Europe. Among all the routes between China and Europe, Xi 'an is the most important place of origin (36%), followed by Chengdu (22%) and Chongqing (20%). Cooperation with Changzhou, Hefei, Yiwu, Wuhan and other places also showed a positive upward trend.
There are some more interesting statistics.
In 2020, electronic products (85,135TEU), engineering products (80,556TEU), and auto parts (57,796TEU) together accounted for 40% of all westbound shipments carried by UTLC. Three years ago, these three types of goods accounted for 80%.
The change of proportion also shows the increase of goods source category to some extent, which is mainly due to the low value of goods. Other major categories last year included plastics components (28,838TEU), wood (14,859TEU), textiles (12,825TEU), optical products (10,704TEU) and rubber and rubber products (7,509TEU).
Trains operated by UTLC take 5.5 days to travel 5,430 kilometers from Chinese border crossings to EU border crossings without congestion.
In early June, near Dostok on the Sino-Kazakh border, a new transshipment Terminal, developed by Dostok Trans Terminal and operated by PTC Cargo, was officially launched, with plans to expand in phases to a target capacity of 700,000TEU. At present, the terminal can pass 6 Daily China-Europe freight trains.
Grom believes that the expansion of border terminals is a good signal. There are plans to expand not only the China-Kazakhstan border, but also the belarus and Kaliningrad ports.
In addition to the improved application of technology in the traditional Brest-Marashevic route, the rail-sea mode through the Kaliningrad port and the Baltic sea to the UK and the EU is also providing additional capacity. The volume of cargo passing through Kaliningrad in 2020 increased by 320% compared to 2019. Still, UTLC president Grom believes the maximum capacity of the corridor could be four times the current volume of freight.
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