In November 2014, the freight shipping industry changed with the first cargo train left from Yiwu, China to Madrid, Spain – which is part of a new 8,000-mile journey. This is the longest intermodal rail link in the World. The new freight train will travel from China to Spain, going through several nations: Kazahkstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and France. In essence, this new rail line goes through the old Silk Road that boasted the economy of China many centuries ago.
There are many logistics obstacles that this rail line is facing, and many of these obstacles are leaving even the most veteran freight forwarders wondering how to deal with it. Because this train is traveling so many miles, there are numerous climate differences between each nation. In addition, this 8,000-mile rail line features different track sizes, resulting in containers moved by cranes three times to different bogies on the trip. In addition, this rail trip is more expensive for Chinese companies than ocean freight shipping. However, rail is bit faster, which is ideal for Chinese high-tech exports or imports of other products from Europe.
Some people might wonder why China would invest in rail to send their freight West to Europe, when they can transport through maritime shipping in the Pacific Ocean. According to The Wall Street Journal, China might be threatened by America’s military might in the Pacific Ocean and the economic plans of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (which could comprise 40% of Global GDP, and no China). That is why China would like to build an economic empire to the East towards Central Asia and Europe.