Russian Railways successfully made rapid delivery of medical supplies from China to Paris
On 23 June 2020, the first container train carrying medical supplies from China arrived at the Valenton terminal in the French capital Paris. This consignment resulted from cooperation between the Russian Railways Holding, SNCF Forwardis, a subsidiary of SNCF, the national company of French railways, and the COSCO Group (China) to organise an accelerated delivery of vital goods by rail.
The train, with 41-foot containers, departed from Nanchang station in Jiangxi Province, East China, on 4 June, arriving in Paris 19 days later, one day ahead of schedule, having covered 11,920 km and crossed 7 countries. The train delivered anti-epidemic drugs and 40 million medical masks.
The service along the 1520 mm broad gauge track, which includes transportation via Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus, was provided by the United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance (JSC UTLC ERA), a subsidiary of Russian Railways. Transshipment between the different gauges took place at the border crossings Dostyk/Alashankou (China/Kazakhstan) and Brest/Malashevich (Belarus/Poland). Shipping within China was provided by the two Chinese companies COSCO and CRCT, while RZD Logistics, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, handled the transportation on the 1520 mm broad gauge space. SNCF Forwardis took on the transportation in the European Union.
The launch of the new railway route results from the need to ensure reliable supplies, especially of anti-epidemic agents, whose delivery must be ensured in the shortest and most predictable time.
Rail provides a reliable linkup between East and West, providing not only a reduction in the delivery times of goods, but also in carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. In addition, the cost of delivering goods by rail is lower than by plane, resulting in a lower end price of the goods. The greater cargo capacity of one train means that one run can carry the same amount of freight as up to six plane flights, which increases the cost differential between the two modes of transportation by up to 30 times.
The implementation of the project to launch a high-speed container service between China and Europe is being carried out in accordance with an earlier memorandum signed between the United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance (JSC UTLC ERA) and SNCF Forwardis on cooperation on the development of rail services between Europe and China with the aim of providing customers with a stable,integrated, regular and competitive service. According to previous agreements, JSC UTLC ERA provided the 1520 mm broad gauge service between Dostyk and Brest, while Forwardis continued the transportation of the goods by rail within the EU.