It was six months in the making, but the first ever truck has driven from the Chinese border town of Khorgos, via Kazakhstan to Europe. And all in just 13 days.
A joint initiative between CEVA Logistics, the IRU (International Road Transportation Union), Alblas, and Jet-rail, the successful trial run took place in November.
Amazingly, the truck encountered no disruption or customs issues on its journey.
This 7,000 km new road service offers cost savings of around 50% compared to air freight options, and has proven to be 30-50% faster than rail.
Torben Bengtsson, Executive Vice President of CEVA Logistics Greater China explained how China’s involvement in the TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) system prompted it to look into the feasibility of road transportation linking China and Europe.
Bengtsson added: “We foresee a great future for road transportation from China to Europe. We have a lot of customers waiting for the start of a regular service. During the coming weeks we will work on some small details of the service and then prepare to start regular operations as early as possible in 2019.”
This signals a new era for cross border transportation in China. Compared to other modes of transport on similar routes, it is cost- and time-effective and could be a real win-win for business, trade and governments.
However, not everyone is feeling optimistic. Forwarders have expressed real concern about the economics of operating truck shipments across such long distances.