German OBOR Freight Capacity Problems Allows Finland to Play Role in China-EU Rail Freight

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Capacity problems between Malaszewicze and Brest for trains traveling between China and the EU have meant that an urgent rescheduling of trains on the German network is required, with problems expected to last until 2020. Finland’s Kouvola rail hub is about to step in and take advantage, said Finnish Government officials at the Railgate Forum in Kouvola yesterday, with a weekly service expected to start from early November. Trains will pass through the customs regimes of China, Eurasian Economic Union, and then into the European Union, with return journeys also being made.

Officials stated that 70 percent of the goods arriving from China will be destined for markets elsewhere in Scandinavia as well as southwards to the Baltics and markets in Poland and Germany.

Kouvola is a well established Finnish rail link that has long serviced the Russian market. It is also relatively close to Western China, with the total rail route to final destination in Xi’an expected to take 10-12 days depending on time taken with customs inspections along the route. Kouvola officials stated that in future, trains could be up to one kilometer long along the Kouvola-Xi’an corridor. The expected route would see freight take one day to leave Finland, take two days to transit Russia, four days across Kazakhstan via Khorgos, and three days across China to Xi’an. The commonly used rail freight and shipping route via the Suez canal takes a minimum of 45 days, entering China via Shanghai.

Rail freight between China and Europe has risen by 144 percent this year, with future full modernization of routes expecting to see an increase to over three million containers being transported via rail.


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