SEOUL: Hyundai Merchant Marine has announced that it and compatriot SJ Logistics will launch a block train service from South Korea to Europe, via the Trans China Railway (TCR).
The service is for transporting a single type of cargo from a single origin to a single destination, and HMM’s role is to ship cargoes from the South Korean Ports of Busan, Incheon, and Pyeongtaek to the Chinese Ports of Qingdao and Rizhao. From there, SJ Logistics collects the goods to be railed from Chengdu to Dostyk in Kazakhstan and Poland.
Using the TCR means that goods take 18 to 23 days to reach Poland, compared with 35 to 40 days by sea. However, the cost is also higher. Railing goods over the same route costs up to $7,000 per FEU, compared with $4,000 per FEU by ship.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport said, “We are trying to make efforts to enhance the competitiveness of the TCR block train in terms of prices. We’ve made some progress in the subsidy negotiations with Chinese provincial Governments. We need to reduce the 99 percent dependency on the sea route for the delivery of exports.”
HMM said in December that Samsung SDS, LG Electronics, Hyundai Glovis, and several other companies have expressed interest in the use of the block trains for the shipping of televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, auto parts, and other high value-added products.
Other South Korean logistics firms have launched similar rail services via the trans-Siberian Railway and the trans-Mongolian Railway, but the service offered by SJ Logistics and HMM is the first to cross the TCR.