Rail freight volumes along the ‘New Silk Road’ decreased by around 50 per cent this year. According to the operator, the drop was already visible within the first two to three months of 2023. The main causes behind this trend are said to be the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a significant drop in sea freight rates.
The reductions in sea freight rates have been highlighted by various industry players throughout 2023. One commentator said in August that this trend could start a ‘price war’ that would benefit the shipping sector over the rail freight industry. The war in Ukraine also had a major impact on China-Europe freight trains. Many of these trains are now ending their journey in Russia, rather than reaching the European Union.