a container train loaded with a variety of goods is en route from Hamburg in Germany to China. It should arrive in late November, and will off-load in Beijing and Shanghai. This is the first commercial freight only train to run from Europe to China, and follows upon the webstbound train which ran in September. Rail freight is being offered as an alternative to ocean freight – it is not cheaper, particularly with sea freight rates currently being discounted due to lack of demand – but it is faster. The transit time is 17 – 20 days as opposed to 30 days by sea. A weekly service in both directions will begin from February 2009.