GEFCO’s first carbon-neutral train is more than you think

GEFCO launched its first carbon-neutral Europe-China train. It departed on 15 November from Dunjaska Strada in Slovakia, and its destination is Xi’an in China. It does not operate with fossil-free fuel, so how can it be completely sustainable?

The concept that GEFCO implements, in this case, is different than usual. Since it is still impossible to run a fossil-free train along different gauges on the New Silk Road, the company chooses to make up for the produced CO2 of the train trip by investing exclusively in Gold Standard certified projects.

What is a Gold Standard certified project, you might ask? Gold Standard is an NGO ensuring that projects of any kind align with sustainability goals and vision by reducing CO2 emissions where possible. It’s all about sustainable development according to environmental goals and ways to achieve it.

Carbon-neutral for the customers

Why can this be relevant for rail freight? Firstly, because GEFCO shows how rail companies can compensate for their emissions and become sustainable even before fully achieving the green energy transition. Secondly, because this service was tailored to a customer’s needs, a proof that shippers have started realising that rail is an integral component of their sustainability agendas.

The service could be attractive without even mentioning the aspect of sustainability. We are talking about a fully loaded block train departing from central Europe to China while putting a significant shipper on rail tracks. Yet, there is more to that. GEFCO’s customer explicitly requested a low-carbon transport solution that the company delivered. “We are pleased to partner with our longstanding customer to provide this milestone carbon-neutral train. Market demand is increasing for more climate-friendly solutions, especially in long-distance transportation,” commented Alice Defranoux, head of rail freight at GEFCO.

Trip details

The train that departed from Slovakia to China carries 41 wagons and will take three weeks to reach its final destination. It will pass from Malaszewicze and cross Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan before arriving in Xi’an via the Dostyk-Alashankou border crossing.

European Silk Road Summit

Alice Defranoux from GEFCO will also be among the speakers of this year’s European Silk Road Summit taking place on 7 & 8 December in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The event is only 21 days away, the programme is ready, and some very interesting speakers and sessions are lined up. Interesting in taking a look at the programme? You can do it here. Ready to buy your ticket? You can find it here

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is the Chief Editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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