Rail Freight Market Overview. March 2024


Transit time and possible transport corridors on the China — Europe — China route.


The crisis in the Red Sea contributes to the preservation of significant demand for rail services in the China—Europe direction. Due to the increase in the sea route via Cape of Good Hope, shippers are looking for alternative transportation methods, including rail. In February, delays were recorded due to weather conditions in Kazakhstan, but in March the train schedule was adjusted. The transit time by high-speed rail from terminal to terminal is 13 days from Xi’an to Duisburg, 13-15 days from China to Poland, 18-21 days to Germany. In March, the number of trains increased: direct flights to Italy resumed.


The reduction in eastbound train departures has led to a space tight. The rates for rail transportation in the Europe — China connection increased slightly. The transit time from terminal to terminal is 18-22 days, from Germany to China —12-15 days. Due to the latest package of sanctions, the verification of of Customs paperwork has intensified.

China-Turkey & Central Asia

Service from China/Europe to Kazakhstan, Central Asia and South Caucasus (e.g. Azerbaijan) is available. Direct West-& Eastbound service between China/Europe & Turkey — on request; alternative connection to Turkey via Western corridor and Poland/Hungary — available. Middle Corridor (2 Seas via Caspian and Black sea) —on demand; Trains planned in the end of March /early March.

Red Sea situation update

Vessels continue to route via Cape of Good Hope. Transit time extended by average 10 days due to rerouting via Cape of Good Hope. To ensure fast access and speed of containers Westbound, first port of call in Europe is changed to Barcelona, followed by Koper for sailings via Cape of Good. From Koper, Eastbound vessels are routed via Cape of Good Hope to China with first port call at Qingdao followed by Ningbo and Da Chan Bay.

Major corridors connecting Europe and Asia are:

1) The duration of the Western Corridor is 22-26 days. The route passes through China — Kazakhstan — Russia — Belarus — Poland.

2) The duration of the Northern Corridor is 22-26 days. The route passes through China — Russia — Belarus — Poland.

3) The duration of the Middle (Trans-Caspian) corridor is 50-55 days. The route passes through China — Kazakhstan — the Caspian Sea — Azerbaijan — Georgia — Turkey.

4) The duration of the Southern Multimodal Corridor via the Suez Canal is 28-30 days.

5) The duration of the Southern Multimodal Corridor via the Cape of Good Hope is 44-45 days.

6) The duration of the multimodal corridor through Dubai is 29-30 days.

7) The duration of the multimodal corridor through Long Beach is 18-23 days.

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