posted on 17th Jan 2017 19:22
On 1 January 2017 a test consignment of containers left Yiwu, bound for the Barking container terminal in the East End of London, where arrival is scheduled for early on the 18th. This is the first ever China to Britain railfreight service, even though these services have been evolving now for a decade between China and towns and cities in mainland Europe. Transhipment took place on the borders of China and Kazakhstan, between Belarus and Poland, and finally at the Duisburg terminal, since thence to Barking a rake of wagons certified for use through the Channel Tunnel had to be used.
The train was loaded with 44 40-foot containers, of which 34 continued from Duisburg to Barking. The consignments consisted mainly of household items, bags, textiles and suitcases. The service represents the latest development towards an effort to make China to Europe railfreight attractive for conveying cheap consumer goods.
The organisers of the service are Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment and InterRail Holding, with Brunel Project Cargo being the forwarding partner in Britain. PKP Cargo was responsible for haulage from Malaszewice to Duisburg and DB Cargo for the rest of German portion of the journey and between Calais and Barking, with B Logistics taking over for the run through Belgium and France. This photo shows the train on the evening of 16 January in Hasselt, Belgium, hauled by B Logistics’ 186 217, which is on hire from Alpha Trains Europe.