[photopress:samara_from_volga.jpg,full,alignright]Kazakh company Soyuztranslink has tied up with Kazakhstan Railways and Russian Railways to launch dedicated rail freight services between China, the Central Asian republics and eastern Europe.
The rail transit time from Beijing, Guangzhou or Shanghai to Almaty is about 20 days, with 21 days to Tashkent and 30 days to Moscow. Journey time is similar from all three Chinese cities even though Guangzhou is further away because Guangzhou trains use a more northwesterly route than trains from Beijing and Shanghai.
The move follows a 400 percent surge in trade between China and Kazakhstan over the past four years and similar levels of growth forecast in the future.
The privately owned company will provide logistics management, freight and transport services from Shanghai to Samara and Beijing to Baku. The company will also offer logistics and freight forwarding services to all main trading commercial centres in central Asia and eastern Europe via Alashankou, the frontier station on the China-Kazakhstan border.
You can look at this as a logistics business story which shows how trains can be used to connect Asia to Europe. Or you can look at the magic of the names of Samara, Baku, Kazakhstan, Tashkent and yearn to be on one of these trains. (Yes, yes, the writer has flown into Tashkent and Samara (shown above) which is on the Volga but that is not the same thing as getting there by train. Not in any way.)
Source: Lloyd’s List (A subscriber service.)