Eurasian Rail Freight in the One Belt One Road Era

Hans-Joachim Schramm, Sabrina Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Purpose: This paper presents an overview of the recent development of Eurasian rail freight in the One Belt, One Road Era and further evaluates its service quality in terms of transit times and transport costs compared to other transport modes in containerised supply chains between Europe and China.
Design/methodology/approach: A trade-off model of transit time and transport costs based on quantitative data from primary as well as secondary sources is developed to demonstrate the market niche for Eurasian rail freight vis-a-vis the more established modes of transport of sea, air, and sea/air. In a scenario analysis, further goods attributes influencing modal choice are employed to show for which cargo type Eurasian rail freight service is favourable.
Findings: At present, Eurasian rail freight is about 80% less expensive than air freight with only half of the transit time of conventional sea freight. Our scenario analysis further suggests that for shipping time sensitive goods with value ranging from 1.23 USD/kg to 10.89 USD/kg as well as goods with lower time sensitivity and value in a range of 2.46 USD/kg to 21.78 USD/kg, total logistics costs of Eurasian rail freight service beat all other modes of transport.
Research limitations/implications (if applicable): We focused solemnly on containerized block train services offered by major rail transport operators and looked on service quality only in terms of transit times and transport costs.
Practical implications (if applicable): Nowadays, Eurasian rail freight seems to be an option beneficial in terms of transport cost, transit time, reliability and service availability, which enables shippers to build up agile and sustainable supply chains between China and Europe.
Original/value: Our study firstly provides a comprehensive assessment of present Eurasian rail freight.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication30th Annual NOFOMA Conference : Relevant Logistics and Supply Chain Management Research
EditorsJan Stentoft
Number of pages30
Place of PublicationKolding
PublisherSyddansk Universitet. Institut for Entreprenørskab og Relationsledelse
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9788791070938
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventThe 30th NOFOMA Conference 2018: Annual Nordic Logistics Research Network Conference - SDU - University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, Denmark
Duration: 13 Jun 201815 Jun 2018
Conference number: 30


ConferenceThe 30th NOFOMA Conference 2018
LocationSDU - University of Southern Denmark
Internet address


  • One belt
  • One road
  • Belt and road initiative
  • Eurasian land bridge
  • Trans-siberian railway
  • Container block train
  • Quality of service
  • Transport cost
  • Transit time

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