The future of China-Europe rail container transport remains in doubt, despite the apparent increase in the number of container trains and the expansion of destinations and destinations in Europe.
This was the conclusion of the president of InterRail Holding and the former vice-chairman of the Trans-Siberian Transport Coordination Council (CCTT), Hans Reinhard, speaking at the 28th plenary session of the CCTT in Nursultan in late September.
In his opinion, this is due primarily to the fact that the Chinese authorities are reducing subsidies for rail freight to Europe. So, subsidies this year amounted to 40%. Next year they will decrease to 30%, and in 2021 they will decrease to 20%. Since neither railway operators nor state railway companies will be able to compensate for the reduction in subsidies, starting from 2020 we should expect an increase in market rates for container transportation. The question remains unclear – will container trains in the same amount be demanded at high rates as now.
According to studies commissioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the number of container trains to / from Europe will be reduced, and to Russia and Central Asia – to increase, since small subsidies are required for a short distance.
However, the reduction in the number of container trains can have a positive side effect for Europe, whose railways are congested, including due to an increase in the number of trains from China. Reducing the load would improve medium-term planning and achieve a reduction in the delivery time of goods from China to Europe, which would be interesting for e-commerce and mail delivery, said Hans Reinhard.
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