Ukraine-Russia Conflict Impact on China-Europe Rail Transportation. What Do Operators Say?


How will the Ukraine-Russia conflict affect railway transportation between China and Europe?

PRO-LOG company quotes the main statements of the rail transportation market operators.

DB Cargo Eurasia, as well as DB Schenker have sent their clients the following notice: «Traffic through Ukraine is currently impossible, but the main route through Malashevichi remains open.»

The Silk Road companies are doing everything possible to provide clients with safety and security of the main China-Europe corridor through Belarus and Poland. New Silk Road Intermodal, the Chinese operator, is among such companies. «We will do our best to ensure that no train to Europe is affected by the situation in Ukraine,» the operator said in a statement.

RailCargoGroup (RCG), the freight subsidiary of the Austrian ÖBB, also commented: «Currently there is no effect on RCG freight traffic. We are closely monitoring the situation and, if necessary, we can respond to changes in the flow of goods by alternative routes. <...> Rail freight traffic to and from China is also currently unaffected (alternatively via Belarus or Turkey)».

Neptune Logistics has informed its clients that train traffic through the Polish border Hrubeshuv via Izov (Ukraine) and arriving in Slavkuv (Poland) has been completely suspended. The statement notes that trains arriving in Ukraine through other countries are also suspended. It is also reported that trains on the main route Kazakhstan — Russia — Belarus are running as usual, although congestion on the border between Poland and Belarus may increase due to changes in the route of trains, which previously went through Ukraine.

HHLA held a press conference and announced that since 24 February, the Ukrainian authorities had closed the port of Odessa, and as a result operations at the HHLA terminal in Odessa had also been suspended. Chinese companies have also contributed to the Ukrainian-Russian situation and the continuation of New Silk Road services provision. A direct train from China to Kyiv still runs, but the connection between Xi’an and the Ukrainian city of Chop will be temporarily rerouted through Poland.

«Lithuanian logistics companies go through hard times due to the situation in Ukraine,» said Tomas Jankauskas of ACE Logistics. Transit to/from China has not been disrupted yet. However, the industry fears delays on the Belarusian section of the Silk Road. UTLC ERA says that none of its services were affected (UTLC ERA routes do not pass through Ukraine). UTLC ERA manages the majority of rail freight transportation on the broad gauge network, including Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia. Metrans has suspended freight rail transportation through Ukraine since January 2022, when instability in the region began.

RTSB confirms that clients have canceled train bookings through Ukraine. Trains are redirected through Belarus and Kaliningrad.

According to RZD Logistics, there is currently no significant influence of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on rail transportation. Yet, due to the fragility of the situation, it may change rapidly.

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