Basel, 05 October 2017. "Basically, we need better coordination between China and Europa - between the departure platforms in China for a more balanced distribution of trains across all of Europe, but also between the platforms and the operators, most of whom actually come from Europe. Moreover, there are diverse, and partly massive, structural inadequacies in Europe that have to be remedied urgently. We need additional railway lines, more locomotives and wagons, and additional locomotive drivers", was the call for action of Hans Reinhard, President of the Group of European TransEurasia Operators and Forwarders (GETO) and Vice Chairman of the International Coordinating Council on Transsiberian Transportation (CCTT) at the 26th general assembly of CCTT.
The plenary session took place in Beijing, China, on September 20/21, at the invitation of China Railway Container Transport Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of the China Railway Corporation. More than 240 delegates from 24 countries attended the meeting. Among them representatives of all the railway companies involved in the corridor, of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, of the Federal Customs Service and the Federal Tariff Service of the RF, representatives of international associations like the European GETO, Japanese TSIOAJ, of CIT, UIC and FIATA, as well as numerous representatives of leading transport and logistics companies.
In his speech, Reinhard also analyzed the market situation of the container block trains China-Europe, and their prospects for the future. On an overall basis, in the past twelve months, a further, enormous increase in railway connections between China and Europe was registered. Owing to big investments, many new routes are being developed, old ones are revived. The GETO members however agree that measures to increase the attractiveness of these traffics need to be intensified, as the current growth rates are mostly due to subsidiaries from the Silk Road Fund.
For GETO, taking steps to guarantee the train services offered in the long term is therefore indispensable. The necessary steps include a further reduction in tariffs for railway lines, wagons and containers so the current price level, supported by subventions, can be maintained also in future. The GETO members moreover think it necessary to offer synchronized departures that follow a fixed schedule, to enforce a further reduction of transit times, and to create end-to-end IT structures for a smoother handling as well as attractive models for the return of containers.
"This means that all companies involved in rail traffic, that is: practically all organizations participating in the CCTT meeting, but most especially the state run railway companies, have to provide lower tariffs, shorter transit times, and increased quality transparency. Intensified coordination between platforms as well as between operators is essential to improve the utilization of trains, especially along the CIS railway network with its bigger train units, but also for a more balanced distribution of the trains across all of Europe. In my opinion, Yiwu has done unique pioneering work in this respect with destinations in Europe that have met with enormously positive acceptance in the market, like for instance Madrid, or more recently, London," Hans Reinhard said.
For GETO, another measure to reduce costs and thus strengthen competitiveness is the installation of so called hub systems at the CIS border entry and exit stations. This would allow bundling train traffics and guarantee a better utilization of the wide gauge railway tracks, as Europe and China have different regulations concerning the maximum length of trains.