Rail Container Transportation in Eurasia in the First Half of 2020

08.14.2020

In the first five months of 2020, the total value of mutual trade between the EU and China carried out by railway transport, increased by 21.22% year-on-year (47.42% more in May than in January 2020) . This development allowed rail transport to increase its share in the total trade volume from 2.83% in January-May 2019 to 3.47% in January-May 2020.

The outbreak of the new coronavirus infection, first in China, and later in other countries, led to introduction of quarantine measures imposed by national governments, primarily in the form of closing national borders. This series of events had a direct impact on the volume of trade flows between the European Union (EU) and China, the two largest manufacturing and trade centers on the Eurasian continent: for example, in January-May 2020, the volume of mutual trade between the EU and China in terms of overall value decreased by 1.34% as compared to the same period a year prior. In March, the decline reached its maximum; in May 2020 the trade volume returned to the level of January 2020, mainly due to a sharp increase in the volume of EU imports of medical products from China. The pandemic has had a negative effect on the functioning of supply chains due to disruptions in transport infrastructure, with maritime and air transport being affected the worst. Therefore, the rail transport served as a green light route for EU-China freight traffic, which was essential in the fight against the pandemic. For example, in the first five months of 2020, the total value of mutual trade between the EU and China carried out by railway transport, increased by 21.22% year-on-year (47.42% more in May than in January 2020) . This development allowed rail transport to increase its share in the total trade volume from 2.83% in January-May 2019 to 3.47% in January-May 2020.

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