Hong Kong company connects China with the US using rail

RailSea2. Copyright: OOCL

How could rail connect China with US East Coast ports? OOCL’s new rail-sea service shows that this is possible. It uses rail to link Xi’an in China with Kaliningrad in Europe and then ships to move products towards New York, Charleston and Savannah in the US.

The rail-sea connection is launched by OOCL Logistics and OOCL, a container shipping and logistics provider company headquartered in Hong Kong. It connects China and US East Coast ports using the New Silk Road. The first train from Xi’an already departed on 4 August, and it’s on its way to Europe.

Kaliningrad the key

From Xi’an, containers will travel on the China-Europe express through Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus before reaching Kaliningrad. In Kaliningrad, containers will be loaded on a feeder vessel that will take them to the port of Bremerhaven in Germany. There they will onboard OOCL’s ocean services to take them to the US. Final destinations in the US include the ports of New York, Charleston and Savannah. All of them are positioned in different parts of the country’s East Coast.

The rail-sea multimodal route. Copyright: OOCL

Congestion in Panama canal

The new service by the ocean carrier comes as a response to the congested Panama canal. The Panama Canal route is traditionally used by ocean shippers transporting products between China and the US East Coast. Moreover, there is a general traffic overload even on routes towards the US West Coast.

As a result, OOCL had to examine and implement a solution that has proved successful in other cases too. Launching a multimodal service that includes rail seems to be more efficient currently since the demand for transport is also pressuring.

Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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