Rail transport is one of the most popular means of transport, which is usually used on long-distance routes. With the opening of the New Silk Road, it also works well in transporting goods from China. What are the advantages and disadvantages of rail transport?
Rail transport from China - one of the available options for importing and exporting goods
Both the import and export of goods from China are carried out using three main modes of transport: railways, container ships and cargo planes. Rail freight is the most optimized option of all the above in terms of delivery time and price. A feature of rail transport there is also a high level of safety of transported goods.
Characteristics of rail transport requires defining the basic loading unit, which is a container. In effect advantage of rail transport is not only the appropriate securing of loads, but also the possibility of efficient reloading of goods from one means of transport to another. As a result, containers are also perfect for multimodal transport (rail may be its element), which requires the use of at least two means of transport (e.g. express freight trains and trucks). rail transport, using containers, it ensures quick reloading, which significantly reduces not only the transport time, but also the unit costs of transporting goods.
Functioning rail transport infrastructure both in China, Poland and Europe allows for efficient transportation of cargo from Far Eastern countries to Europe. Large railway terminals located in mainland China, such as Chengdu, Xian, Xiamen and others, as well as Małaszewicze in Poland, allow the handling of several dozen trains a week, which translates into the possibility of organizing the transport of even very large batches of goods.
Advantages of rail transport in the transport of cargo from China
Without a doubt railway transport has its own advantages. The first one is transit time. Express freight trains cover the route from the People's Republic of China to Małaszewicze in 9-14 days. As a result, the delivery time from the sender (e.g. manufacturer) to the recipient in Poland does not exceed 1 month and usually ranges from 24 to 29 days. Rail transport on the New Silk Road is therefore much faster than transporting cargo by sea (a container ship needs 2 to 3 months to travel by sea). It is worth remembering that rail transport works perfectly in multimodal forwarding. It also allows for door-to-door service.
Do advantages of rail transport also includes the price. Cargo transportation trail transport it is only slightly more expensive than by container ship and much cheaper than by air freight. Moreover, in the case of groupage transport (i.e. those whose volume is lower than the capacity of the container), it often provides a better unit price for transporting goods than sea freight. In addition, the price level is stable and is not subject to such drastic changes as in the case of sea or air transport.
Rail transport from China is characterized by high safety of cargo transport. This is due to the fact that it uses containers with improved sealing. Moreover, the advantage of rail transport is a wide range of containers with special features ensuring optimal conditions for the transported goods (e.g. refrigerated containers, tank containers, etc.). At the same time, it offers customers the ability to systematically locate the cargo, which allows for a more accurate estimate of the delivery date of the goods.
Disadvantages of rail transport in the field of transport of goods from the PRC
Cargo transportation rail transport from China to Poland also has its disadvantages. Characteristics of rail transport requires the use of terminals, and the nearest hub is not always the cheapest. Transporting cargo along the New Silk Road means that the goods pass through many customs zones along with crossing several state borders.
It is also worth adding that not all goods can be transported by rail. Disadvantage of rail transport is, among others, that it does not allow the transport of batteries.