Hupac launches railway service for European chemicals to China
29 June 2021
Hupac is setting up a new cross-border liquid cargo service between Europe and China. The rail freight line is specifically designed for the chemical industry in Europe and runs to the Chinese city of Lanzhou via the main Eurasian route, Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan.
The intermodal operator is carrying out the project together with VTG AG, which provides the tank containers and China Rail, which is doing the traction in China. Moreover, it has partnered up with the Chinese e-commerce platform Factoryhood.com, where customers can place the order for the liquid cargo.
Hurdles on the rails
“The intention is to make this a regular service”, says Alberto Grisone, director development Russia & CIS Countries at Hupac. However, the journey is one with many hurdles, as the transport of chemicals comes with many prerequisites, especially in China, he explains.
“Every product sent needs a ‘non-dangerous goods’ certificate and a shipping permit before it can be shipped to China. This is a long, bureaucratic process. Acquiring the shipping permit can take between four to six weeks. But this is something we are currently working on with China.”
Attractive transit times
Taking away the bureaucratic hurdles is exactly what the partners are working on to make this a dedicated rail freight service because, in essence, the transit times are very attractive. By using the main route on the New Silk Road, the journey takes around three weeks.
“We are also shipping chemicals via Mongolia. This is beneficial for certain destinations, but not all, and the route is less flexible due to capacity limitations”, says Grisone. In Europe, the chemicals are collected in Ludwigshafen, Germany. “But we have also sent out a shipment from Warsaw. Currently, a train with sixteen units is on the way to China”.
Another route that Hupac currently uses is via the Russian port of Vladivostok. “This is specifically interesting for the dangerous chemical goods, as those are still not permitted in overland transport through China.” The Russian port lies close to the border with China.
Moreover, Vladivostok also serves as a transhipment hub for further transport to Japan, Korea and Taiwan, Grisone continues. “We are doing many dangerous goods shipments to Taiwan, and we have already sent hundreds of tank containers via this route.”
Although the route is a functional alternative for the shipment of dangerous goods, Grisone would rather see the route through China open up for this type of cargo. “The route through Vladivostok is longer in eastbound direction.” Currently, China is banning rail transportation of dangerous goods, and negotiations have been ongoing for the past years. “We are still in talks with China. Hopefully, they open the route very soon.”
Programme of #ESRS2023 is complete: Meet our speakers
– 3 November 2023 – The programme of the European Silk Road Summit in Budapest is complete! With 23 speakers from all over the world, the 7th edition of this industry event is set to become a success. The European Silk Road Summit, which is taking place from 29 November to 1 December in Budapest,… Read more ›
Deli Andor, Member of the European Parliament to speak at #ESRS2023
– 23 October 2023 – With just over a month to go until the European Silk Road Summit will be held in Budapest, Hungary, the list of knowledgeable speakers is growing fast. Deli Andor, who is a Member of the European Parliament, Dmitrij Hasenkampf from RTSB, Rashad Majidov from ADY Container and Zoltan Kozlovszky from… Read more ›
Nominees for RailFreight Ambassador 2023 announced
– 20 October 2023 – We are proud to announce the nominees for the RailFreight Ambassador 2023! Four industry professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in rail on the Eurasian corridor received the confidence of the industry. It is time to vote now! The nominees of the RailFreight Ambassador Award of 2023 are: Juergen Huschka… Read more ›