A truck carrying goods has traveled from the Chinese border town of Khorgos, through Kazakhstan and Russia to Europe in just 13 days. It is hoped that the new route will contribute to the success of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Part of a joint initiative between CEVA Logistics (CEVA), Alblas and Jet-rail, along with the International Road Transportation Union (IRU), the truck started its 7,000 kilometre journey on November 13 at the Khorgos border in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, entering Kazakhstan and travelling through Russia and Belarus to Poland in 13 days – with a door-to-door cost and delivery time that is competitive with both air and rail.
Whilst a great success for all the organisations involved in the maiden trip, it was no easy feat and has taken years to prepare.
“This is a day to remember,” said Kelvin Tang, director Road and Rail at CEVA Logistics Greater China.
“We began investigating the possibility and feasibility of road transportation from China to Europe in order to find an alternative to the escalating air freight market,” explained Torben Bengtsson, executive vice president of CEVA Logistics Greater China.
“Thanks to the implementation of the TIR system this year, and the great support of the IRU, the Research Institute of Highway Ministry of Transport (RIOH), and the Xinjiang government, we were able to make this trial run a reality. The trial proves that the TIR carnets issued in China are accepted in transit countries en-route to Europe,” added Mr Bengtsson.
According to Mr Bengtsson, there is a great future for road transportation from China to Europe, and customers are waiting for the start of a regular service.
“The new road service will deliver a cost saving of about 50 per cent compared to air options and provide a lead time door-to-door of between 10 to 15 days, between 30-50 per cent faster than rail. Over the coming weeks we will work on some small details of the service and then prepare to start regular operations as early as possible in 2019,” he added.
“This first TIR journey by road from China to Europe is a win-win-win model for business, trade and governments. It will be a game changer for cross border transportation in China,” said IRU secretary general Umberto de Pretto.
“This trial demonstrates that the system is secure and highly competitive in terms of cost and time relative to other modes of transport on similar routes. It will boost trade between China and Europe, which will help China and the countries along the Belt and Road route reap the economic and development rewards of international road transport.”
“It is also a wake-up call to European hauliers who can seize the opportunity to benefit from round trip operations,” concluded Mr de Pretto.