KTZ Express (KTZE) Hong Kong, a provider of rail freight services connecting Central Asia to global markets, plans to commence new block train services from Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Xian in China to Europe via Kazakhstan.
Scheduled for launch over the next 12 months, the company is currently holding talks with municipal government officials and freight forwarders in these four cities in China.
The proposal to offer the new rail freight services comes as the New Silk Way initiative launched by the governments of China and Kazakhstan is gaining momentum with shippers and freight forwarders attracted by the 16-day transit time to major cities in Europe.
There is also growing demand from Europe for dedicated block train services to Asia for products as diverse as fruit to auto parts.
The rail freight company is taking delivery of 200 new 45-foot reefer boxes to meet demand from shippers for products such as pharmaceuticals, farm produce and computer hardware, which require temperature control.
"We have had a very positive response from freight forwarders across China who are looking for a fast, efficient and cost effective service direct to their European customers," president, global logistics, Henrik Christensen, told delegates at the JOC Group's TPM Asia conference in Shenzhen.
"Shippers of high value products such as electronics, automotive parts, computers, fashion and lifestyle products and fresh produce are actively looking at using rail freight from China to Europe, as a result of longer ocean transit times," he added.
A key platform in the development of the rail freight service is the new inland container port under construction at Khorgos on the China-Kazakhstan border.
The inland port aims to act as a regional distribution centre for the growing trade between China, South East Asia and Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Russia and the Caucasus.
Khorgos East Gate is a special economic zone with customs bonded area.
Source : HKSG.