New railway service on Middle Corridor linking China and Turkey
A new railway service has been launched on the Middle Corridor, a relatively new route between China and Europe as part of the Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics operates the westbound service, linking the eastern Chinese city of Lianyungang with Turkey.
The new service runs through Kazakhstan to cross the Caspian Sea, from where it will hit the newly-built Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway. Kerry Logistics will be offering both block train and single wagon services with a transit time of 18-20 days. The main products to be moved will include electronic parts, electrical appliances, minerals, auto parts, and other industrial goods, the company explained.
Alternative to New Silk Road
The Middle Corridor was launched to provide an alternative to the northern routes of the New SIlk Road, which lead cargo through Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, to enter Europe at the border with Poland. The Middle Corridor runs from China to Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia to Turkey, which provides another gateway to Europe via the Black Sea. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was opened in October last year, providing the missing link on the route.
In addition to the rail freight service, Kerry Logistics also launched a trucking service along the same trade route with an addition of fifty trucks to the company’s existing fleet. “With a transit time of around 12-14 days, this will provide an alternative solution for customers who look for a faster way of getting their cargoes to the destinations”, the company stated.
Edwardo Erni, Managing Director – China & North Asia of Kerry Logistics, noted: “We are excited about the launch of this new cross-border service. With our rail freight and trucking capabilities extending their reach to the strategic locations of Turkey and Caucasus, we will be able to grasp the immense market opportunities presented by the Belt and Road initiative with our enhanced position in the region.”
Kerry Logistics already carried out a westbound charter freight from Yiwu, Eastern China to Madrid, Spain in August 2016. It has also set foot on the first eastbound freight train from London to Yiwu in April 2017. “The company will continue to develop under the Belt and Road initiative and further its commitment to developing an overland transportation network for road, rail, and multimodal freight services from China to Central Asia and Europe”, it stated.