Home » Rail Freight from China to Europe Continues to Grow, Even as COVID Subsides

Rail Freight from China to Europe Continues to Grow, Even as COVID Subsides

by | Nov 29, 2022 | Blog Post

Rail freight service between China and Europe became more popular at the height of the Covid  epidemic as freight capacity tightened. But when air and ocean capacity opened up, the popularity of rail freight from China to Europe sustained, and even grew.

Dimerco, which operates a rail hub in Xi’an, China, has seen its cross-border rail business grow more than 100% over the last year. The modern Silk Road connecting China and Europe by rail is actually 20 days faster than ocean shipping and as much as 30% cheaper than air freight.

Rail freight is also the greenest shipping alternative available and is attractive to companies with greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals.

Recently, Andy Luo, Branch Manager for Dimerco’s logistics hub in Xi’an, did a video interview with railfreight.cn on the advantages of Budapest Hungary as a hub for rail cargo originating in China and destined for locations across Eastern and Western Europe. See the interview below.


The impact of the Russia / Ukraine conflict on rail freight

The fastest route from Xi’an to Budapest once ran through Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine with a change to European-gauge rail lines at Zahony, Hungary at its border with Ukraine. Due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the trip to Budapest now routes through Malaszewice, Poland, lengthening transit time from 12 days to 18 days.


The advantages of Budapest as a rail freight hub

According to Andy Luo, Chinese railroad companies choose Budapest as their first hub in Europe. The city’s central location allows shippers to transload freight and deliver to many locations in Eastern and Western Europe within 2–3 days. The large number of rail routes out of Budapest is attractive to companies that want to minimize door-to-door ship time and cost.

Another advantage of Budapest is Hungary’s membership in the European Union, which creates a more seamless shipping process for goods moving between Budapest and other European destinations.


Dimerco’s solution for rail freight between China and Europe

Dimerco’s fast-growing cross-border rail solution between China and Europe began in 2016.  It includes fixed weekly FCL and LCL service to and from Budapest, with 2x/week service from Budapest to Xi’an and 1x/week service from Xi’an to Budapest. Dimerco’s trucking services in China pick up cargo from locations throughout China and deliver it to the origin train terminal in Xi’an.

In fact, the China-to-Europe rail solution serves customers throughout the Asia-Pac region. Goods originating in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia travel via ocean or air to China and then Dimerco manages delivery to the origin rail terminal via rail or truck.

Budapest is just one of the European cities Dimerco ships to via rail.  See all cities and transit times here.

Dimerco’s door-to-door solution for rail freight from China to Europe includes:

  • first-mile transport
  • train scheduling
  • customs clearance
  • last-mile delivery
  • full visibility to in-transit shipments via GPS

Dimerco is one of the few global 3PLs that operates its own rail hub in Xi’an. The city has become the center of the China-Europe rail service because it connects with so many European cities.


Consider rail as a greener alternative for shipments between China and Europe

Rail freight has become a much more reliable mode of transport in recent years and companies are increasingly seeing it as a viable alternative to air and ocean shipping to move goods between China and Europe.

If you’d like to do a cost and service comparison between rail and your current solution, contact Dimerco today.

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