Alternatives to Sea Transport from Asia Via the New Silk Road
21 June 2023

Alternatives to Sea Transport from Asia Via the New Silk Road

The global supply chain industry has undergone a lot of shifts due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

One of the most significant changes was the rise in container prices caused by the imbalance between import and export flows. 

As consumption in Europe and the United States picked up sharply at the end of the lockdowns in the spring of 2021, the industrial recovery in China didn’t begin until September, leading to a further worsening of the imbalance. 

The majority of European and North American companies tried to replenish their stocks while the Chinese side tried to fulfil a surge in new orders that sea transport capacities could not cope with. The result of all these events was the doubling of sea times from 30 to 60 days and an increase in freight rates by 10-fold in only 12 months.


The Rail Alternative

The Eurasian rail corridor has emerged as a new alternative to sea transport in the last few years. More and more companies are using rail transport to benefit from a faster delivery time of around 20 days (Station to Station) due to the congestion experienced by maritime shipping. Ziegler Group offers Less than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL) services from rail terminals located in the industrial heartland of China at a competitive price. China is working on a strategy to build more trains and stations to better connect the most important stations to further develop this mode of transportation.

Rail is more reliable than sea and up to 70% cheaper than air for dense or bulky cargo shipments. Although rail freight rates started to increase in recent months, the rail alternative from Asia remains more reliable in terms of transit time between the two continents. 

Moreover, rail transport is a more green mode of transport, emitting nine times less CO2 emissions than road transport. A 40-foot container transported by rail with 20 tons of cargo represents only 4% of the CO2 emissions needed to transport the same cargo by air.


Import from Asia by Road

The emergence of road services between Asia and Europe can solve the challenges related to delivery schedules or the goods that need to be transported fast.

Road freight reduces shipping costs by 50% compared to air transport, and it is 30 to 50% faster than rail transport. In the event of a seasonal peak, such as Chinese New Year or Golden Week, sea and air freight are always severely disrupted, and road freight is a more flexible alternative in this context. 

Although safety is one of the major challenges for road freight on the Silk Road, Ziegler Group provides security solutions for road freight, such as transport convoys with security, a dedicated team of experts available 24 hours a day, and daily tracking via GPS.


The Future of Road Transport from Asia

The development of the Meridian Highway project between Shanghai and Hamburg is a key element of the New Silk Road project that will determine the future of road transport from China. 

The project aims to create a new logistics corridor by connecting the main seaports, airports, and railways along the route, and it is expected to reduce transport times and costs, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the land transport route between Asia and Europe.


Work with an innovative Supply Chain Partner 

As the logistics industry continues to evolve, it is essential for companies to explore and adopt new modes of transport to stay ahead of the competition and succeed in the global marketplace.

If you are looking for a reliable partner to navigate the complexities of the current supply chain landscape, Ziegler Group is ready to assist you in finding the best solution for your business. 

Contact Ziegler Group today and let them help you find the most efficient and cost-effective transportation solutions for your business needs.