First Freight Train from Wuhan En Route to Germany

Coronavirus: after Wuhan loosened its complete lockdown in late March and rail services resumed in the city, the first freight train also left Wuhan and is due to arrive in Germany on 12 April.

It is the first regular container transport between China and Europe since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The cargo includes 166.4t of personal protective equipment (PPE) and 19 containers of medical masks.

Duisport rail terminal
Duisport rail terminal

The train, which is made up of fifty 40-foot containers, departed Wuhan on 28 March before reaching Dostyk Station on the China-Kazakh border on 1 April. There is a break-of-gauge here from standard to Russian (1520mm) gauge so the containers were reloaded on to broad-gauge wagons. The train is now en route in Kazakhstan and will then make its way through Russia and Belarus on the UTLC Eurasian Railway Alliance route. The second break-of-gauge occurs on the border between Belarus and Poland.

In addition to carrying PPE and medical masks, the cargo also includes car parts, electronics, telecommunication fibre optics, and railway infrastructure components. The train’s final destination in Germany will be Duisburg, but the cargo will be shipped onwards to other destinations in the country as well as to France, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland.

Since the beginning of 2020 more than 550 container trains have travelled on the China-Europe-China route.

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