New Silk Road carries another medical train, this time to Paris

Nanchang-Paris train

A block train loaded with medical equipment has left the Chinese province of Jiangxi today, 4 June, headed for Paris. The service is organised by Russian Railways, SNCF Forwardis, COSCO Group and JSC UTLC ERA, while FELB acted as the coordinator of partner negotiations in China and Europe.The train is expected to arrive in Paris after 20 days.

The shipment was collected and loaded on the train in Nanchang, in Eastern China). The freight train consists of 41 x 40-foot containers carrying 40 million medical masks, gloves, gel dispensers and other protective equipment. The cargo is entirely destined for hospitals and local authorities and will be distributed in the Ile-de-France region and the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region in France.

Born out of need

The launch of the new railway route was born out of the need to ensure the transportation of anti-epidemic goods in the shortest and most predictable time. The new route Nanchan-Paris passes through the territories of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus. Transshipment will be carried out at the Dostyk/Alashankou (China/Kazakhstan) and Brest/Malashevice (Belarus/Poland) border crossings.

“We understood quickly that we can support containment of COVID-19 with what we are best in: the organisation of fast and reliable shipments. That is why we are not only proud of our first shipments of protective equipment in May, but also happily contributed our know-how and network into this project. We stand together against COVID-19”, said Jürgen Huschka, Managing Director of FELB.


The launch of the service is in accordance with the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between UTLC ERA and SNCF Forwardis some years ago. The participating parties have outlined in the declaration their intention to cooperate more closely in the area of multimodal container transport between China and Europe and to further increase capacities in cargo transport by rail.

JSC UTLC ERA provides transport service on the 1520 mm broad gauge routes, including transportation through Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus. Shipping in China will be carried out by COSCO and CRCT (China), on broad gauge rail by JSC RZD Logistics (a subsidiary of JSC Russian Railways), and through Europe by SNCF Forwardis.

“This new route and the cooperation among all participating parties makes it possible to offer genuinely customer-oriented services with shorter delivery times. This reliable service includes the timely provision of rolling stock and transshipment of containers from platforms of one gauge to another. All the customer needs to do is declaring his order to send a train from point A to point B”, says Alexey Grom, CEO of UTLC ERA.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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