Farewell to Trans-Siberian Railway: first China-Finland container train bypasses Russia

2022/05/12 at 3:53 PM

Nurminen Logistics, the Finnish freight forwarder, is drastically changing its supply chains for delivering containers from China to Finland. For several years, the company has been using the Trans-Siberian Railway as the most reliable way for moving boxes in the east-west direction. Now, it has redirected its freight flows to the Middle Corridor to bypass Russia, which is under EU sanctions due to the invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, 10 May, the container train of Nurminen Logistics departed from Chongqing in China towards Finland. Instead of crossing Russia via the Trans-Siberian Railway, it will run via a new route. The company’s train will travel via the Middle Corridor of the New Silk Road, in particular via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Central Europe. In contrast to the Trans-Siberian Railway, the new route includes at least two maritime legs, across the Caspian (the Aktau-Baku ferry line) and Black Sea (the Poti-Constanta ferry line). Nurminen Logistics considers such a way as competitive. “Transport time from China to Central Europe is approximately three times faster than sea freight,” the Finnish company stated.

Illustrative picture. Container train of Nurminen Logistics, source: Nurminen Logistics

Strong demand

Moreover, the Finnish company notices a strong demand for the new route. The first train with 48 containers was fully loaded with various products from jacuzzis to outdoor sports equipment. Nurminen Logistics has scheduled the next shipment for 25 May. The second train is almost sold out, there are only a few spaces left. As for regular weekly departures, the company will commence them in June.

Cooperation with KTZ Express

Nurminen Logistics arranged the new connection from the scratch and just in two months. This has become possible due to cooperation with KTZ Express, a logistics subsidiary of the Kazakhstan Railways. The companies established a partnership in mid-March. KTZ Express assisted Nurminen Logistics in organising multimodal delivery from the Chinese border to Romania via the ports of Aktau, Baku, Poti and Constanta.

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