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Nippon Express to transport Japan-Asia cargo by rail along Belt and Road

SDI Logistics Co.,Ltd | Updated: Jan 16, 2018

JAPANESE logistics company Nippon Express plans to leverage China's Belt and Road initiative to transport cargo between Japan and Europe via trans-Eurasia trains, starting from this spring.

Nippon Express will use regularly scheduled rail freight services out of Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Tsingtao in China to transport mainly auto parts and electrical equipment components all the way up to Hamburg and Duisburg in Germany, passing through Urumqi, Moscow and Minsk in Belarus along the way.

Shipments from Japan will be transported to the seaport or airport closest to a Chinese train station. Following transportation to Europe, or Asia in the other direction, the cargo will be trucked to its final destination. The company's target is to move 20 large container shipments per month via the route, reported Nikkei Asian Review.

The service will shorten transit times to between 20 and 30 days. Sea-train service will slash costs by 50-60 per cent compared with air-only shipping, and the air-train combination will save 30-40 per cent.

Nippon Express has negotiated with Chinese customs authorities to enable smooth transfers of cargo to and from trains and is considering similar arrangements for rail cargo shipments between Southeast Asia and Europe via China as well.

Between January and November 2017 China ran 3,000 cargo train services to and from Europe along the Belt and Road route, double the full-year tally for 2016.