Volumes increase by 30%: a closer look at China Railway’s latest

China-Europe rail freight volumes seem to have increased by 30 percent for the first half of the year, in terms of operated trains, the number has increased by 16 percent year-on-year, accounting for 8,641 trains. For European forwarders, those numbers seem a bit far-fetched.

China Railways released the data a few days ago. According to the state-owned company, eastbound traffic accounted for 46,5 percent of the overall traffic, while westbound traffic accounted for 53,5 percent. In the past few months, new routes have been growing between China and Russia, but for Europe, it’s a different story. RailFreight.com talked with three industry players located in China, Poland, and France. Contrary to Chinese optimism, they all implied that those numbers did not match the reality in Europe.

Numbers don’t match

“Volume from China to Europe that ends in Malaszewicze dropped over 60 to 70 percent,” said a rail freight director of a Polish Company. Alain Chevrier, rail product manager from Logfret S.A. (France) agreed with the figure, stating that a drop of 20 to 40 percent in China-Europe volumes has been witnessed by his Chinese counterparts during his trip to China in April.

Currently, ocean freight from China to European ports can be five times cheaper than rail transportation. Inflation has discouraged consumption, not to mention the sanctions. All of these factors have led to one conclusion: “China has a different view of Europe than we have. That’s why the numbers don’t match,” said the Polish Company.

Russia traffic

“Such an increase comes only because of China-Russia traffic,” stated the Polish Company. “The numbers consist of trains operating to both Europe and Russia,” added a representative from China. However, even though China is exploring the potential of the Russian market amid the decline of Europe, the adventure isn’t as smooth as it is supposed to be.

The China-Russia Express is now facing a dramatic price fall. “Since April, there has been a product shortage for trains heading to Russia from China, and export rail freight rates have fallen back after the previous frantic increase,” explained the Chinese representative.

China-Russia volumes have become a lifesaving alternative to the decrease in China-Europe rail freight volumes. Amid another turbulence in the Russian market, the numbers released by China Railways might be interpreted as an attempt to render optimism for the market, pumping some level of confidence.

Source: RailFreight

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