Sixth consolidation hub in China, closer to Russian border
China has launched a sixth consolidation hub for trains to Europe and Russia: the city of Shenyang in the east of China, conveniently located near the border with Russia. The first train from the new facility, translated as the Shenyang Puhe Logistics Center, departed on Saturday 4 March, with Russia as its destination.
The first train is carrying 55 containers and will exit the country via Manzhouli Port. According to the official account of Shenyang Consolidation Center, the goods exported this time include “more than 100 kinds of auto parts, mechanical equipment, electronic products, medical equipment, daily necessities, etc., with an average value of about 90,000 US dollars per container.” According to Shenyang Daily, the time to reach Russia is about 12 days.
In June 2020, China proposed to operate the China-Europe Express via five consolidation cities, being Zhengzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, and Urumqi. Export cargo in other cities can be shipped to these hubs, where it is collected and combined with other cargo in the same direction.
The Shenyang hub has become the de facto sixth China-Europe Railway Express assembly center for cargo distribution, storage, loading and unloading. Construction works only started in October last year, and it was put into use in less than five months. The wagons at the station can start their journey to Europe when the minimum starting volume of 50 containers is met.
New hub for Russia-bound cargo
The assembly center covers an area of 92,000 square meters and will be able to handle 1,000 China-Europe trains per year. Compared with the other five consolidation hubs, this is not an astonishing capacity. In 2022, the handling volume of Xi’an was 4,639 trains, and the Chengdu-Chongqing hub is good for 5,000 trains.
Nevertheless, the new consolidation hub in the east may be a strategically located facility for a growing demand for rail freight to and from Russia. It is relatively close to the China-Russia border port of Suifenhe, the main border crossing for traffic to and from the port of Vladivostok. Two other route options to Russia are via the northern border points of Erenhot and Manzhouli.
But it is not just Russia-bound cargo the hub is promoting to facilitate. Apart from the Trans-Siberian corridor, the map with route options displays the regular route through Malaszewicze, with end destinations as Hamburg, Duisburg, Madrid and other European cities.