COMPETITION is heating up between air and rail for New Silk Road cargo, reports London's Loadstar.
Recently, China's Henan province held a conference to promote the Air Silk Road between Zhengzhou and Luxembourg, which has seen fast cargo growth in recent years.
The road is backed by Henan Aviation Development and Investment Group and Luxembourg's freighter airline, Cargolux.
Cargolux declared it operated 11,000 flights along the route, carrying premium cargo such as German precision instruments, French ponies, Dutch fresh-cut flowers and Danish seafood.One air freight forwarder in Shanghai described Cargolux's route as a mature product and said the airline is partially owned by Zhengzhou Airport.
"In the past, the hub gateways to major European countries mainly transited through Frankfurt or Leipzig. However, since the Zhengzhou-Luxembourg corridor was established, there is an additional choice for major European countries - especially for some oversized cargo, heavy machinery, and medical supplies from mainland China to Europe," said YAD Supply Chain Logistics business development manager Jimmy Hu.
"The price is moderate, and the transport time is reasonable. Taking the trade from Zhengzhou to Liege via Luxembourg as an example, the truck transfer in Luxembourg happens almost the same day, which is very fast shipping."
Rail Bridge Cargo managing director Igor Tambaca declared that rail freight supporters also claim faster European transit times.
"Rail freight from Xian to Duisburg can be done in 10-11 days, for example," said Mr Tambaca.
"Part of the overall goals of China's Belt & Road Initiative is to accomplish passenger and cargo transit time by rail between Shanghai and Europe of seven or eight days - and if China says this is the goal, it will happen."
"Rail was traditionally challenging sea freight on tansit times, but with the new express trains, rail will challenge air on speed and capacity, as rail can carry full container loads that are too complex and expensive for air freight," said Mr Tambaca.
"There will also be more express trains coming in the next three years to speed up the rail network, and this will be accomplished by 'green' border lanes on the China-Kazakhstan and Poland-Germany borders, where these trains will get priority, as well as separate cargo lanes in China only to be used for freight trains."
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