Sunday, July 21, 2013
This is a story worth reading. In addition to the neat infographics, it talks about how even though it is more expensive to ship by rail from China to Europe, it is faster. Ships have had to cut speed in order to save on expensive fuel. Looking at the infographics, it seems the rail trip would be cheaper (and there would be less freight damage) if China and Kazakhstan shared the same rail gauge. (Apparently, Belarus and Poland also do not share a common gauge.)
Another interesting observation is the growth of industrial output in China's inland cities. This will surely help with overpopulation along the coasts. A number of other issues are discussed: minerals in Afghanistan; a customs pact between Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus; H.P. helping Chinese customs officials with shipping logistics; creative methods of curtailing theft along the route; etc.
Last year, just 2,500 containers traveled by rail from China to Western Europe. By 2020, it will be 7.5 million. But even at 7.5 million containers, that is still just a tenth of what ships carry.