11 May 2017

New Multimodal Rail Freight Route Proposed for the Far East  

From Japan to Europe by Box Feeder and Train Services

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Shipping News Feature JAPAN – EUROPE – At a seminar held last month in Tokyo, Japan, about 150 delegates representing various vested industry interests gathered to discuss plans for the country to develop an intermodal, container freight route between Japan and Europe, using feeder lines between the ports of Hakata in Japan and Lianyungang in China then via rail in China and Kazakhstan. Titled 'Development of transit container trains from Japan to Europe via Kazakhstan and Chin', the seminar presented the advantages and prospects of connecting Japan to the New Silk Road route as it passes through the Chinese port.

From here it would connect to Kazakhstan from where it would be able to reach wider European markets via regular container services. Organised by KTZ Express with the assistance of Kazakhstan’s Embassy in Japan, the forum included discussions on using the Kazakhstan-China logistics terminal at the port of Lianyungang as the key point of the consolidation of Japanese and South Korean cargo.

The terminal is a joint project between Lianyungang Port and KTZ Express, which contributes to the development of trade relations in the region and creates the possibility of transit to Central Asia, the Gulf States, Russia, the Caucasus region and Europe through the territory of Kazakhstan.

There has been great enthusiasm of late for these ‘new’ intermodal rail services, and they do indeed have a place in the supply chain between the speed of airfreight and the cheaper, but slower, ocean routes. Despite the massive scale of the block trains they pale in comparison to the carrying capacity of the newer ultra large container vessels with their 20,000 TEU capacity.

Provided there are no problems with gauges and the like, and tariffs are pitched at the right level, there will be room in the market for such developments, as long as rates for the ocean transits do not fall to levels which make them irresistible to shippers.

Photo: The seminar saw over 100 attendees.

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