China-Europe rail freight service faces speed bumps

A train laden with cargo from Britain leaving Corringham, east of London, last April for Yiwu in China's Zhejiang province. The number of such China-Europe rail services has grown, but some believe the fierce competition between firms and unsustainab
A train laden with cargo from Britain leaving Corringham, east of London, last April for Yiwu in China's Zhejiang province. The number of such China-Europe rail services has grown, but some believe the fierce competition between firms and unsustainable price cuts will upset the market.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

China's Belt and Road Initiative is seeing a frenzy of activity in the region, with governments and companies bidding for a slice of the pie to develop overland and sea trade routes. The Straits Times reports.

Seven years after the first China-Europe rail freight service took off between China's Chongqing and Germany's Duisburg, the number of such cargo train trips has grown by leaps and bounds.

But along with high-speed growth, there have been complaints of a market in disarray as players in China wage cut-throat price wars for a share of the rail bounty between Europe and the world's second-biggest economy, said industry players.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2018, with the headline 'China-Europe rail freight service faces speed bumps'. Print Edition | Subscribe