On July 5, 2021, the AsstrA China-Focused Market Sales Department organized an unconventional high-speed rail (HSR) transportation for high-priority freight from China to Russia. The rail route started near the Chinese border at Dostyk, Kazakhstan, and ended at the Kresty railway station outside of Moscow. The high-speed container train carried goods from one consignor to one consignee.
“In January 2021, just after the Chinese New Year holidays, a long-standing AsstrA customer contacted our Shanghai branch regarding a high-delivery freight delivery that had been postponed due to the pandemic. There is a severe shortage of container cars in China, and waiting for capacity on a Chinese train was taking too long. Given the circumstances, the best solution was to bring in an empty train from Kazakhstan, load it in China, and send it on to Russia," shares Sun Jun, AsstrA China Country Manager.
The transport route passed through the Chinese, Kazakh, and Russian borders. The container train consisted of 82 rolling stock units with 20 feet of PVC pallets. The customer was a major Chinese chemical manufacturing company.
“This was the first fully loaded high-speed container train that the Shanghai branch had organized for a customer in a year. Thanks to excellent teamwork between our people in China and Kazakhstan, the challenging project was a success. We are pleased that we managed to guarantee the safety, quality, and integrity of the customer's goods all along the way," continues Sun Jun.
According to Natalia Shmanevskaya, AsstrA Shanghai Branch Manager, the ongoing pandemic makes scheduling empty trains extremely difficult. "The complications are due to several reasons. Reduced Chinese government subsidies are one, but the coronavirus is the main factor. There are strict and time-consuming sanitary measures regarding disinfecting trains and the number of train departures is reduced to avoid major congestion."
In China there are still significant difficulties with railway timetable scheduling and equipment availability. The burden is particularly high in China’s Xinjiang Province, where operational requirements are especially stringent. The situation is expected to worsen in autumn, which is traditionally the logistics high season preceding the New Year holidays.