Kazakh Railways sent the first China-Europe trans-Caspian train from Jiaozhou, in eastern China, to the port of Koper, in Slovenia. The train, laden with new electric cars, covered the 13,000-kilometer route in 45 days. This route was tried for the first time, Railway Supply reported, citing RailFreight.


The train left Jiaozhou and crossed northern China, entering Kazakhstan through the Khorgos border crossing before reaching Altynkol. From there, the cargo was transported across the Caspian Sea and shipped to the port of Poti in Georgia. There the cargo was put back on the railroad and reached the Slovenian port via Turkey.

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This first trip can be seen as a test to find new routes to avoid crossing the Black Sea. Although it is a shorter route, traveling across the Black Sea allows for much less capacity. Moreover, the war in Ukraine contributes to significant bottlenecks on this route.

While the new route is still under development, the uncertainty caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine creates a problem for insurance coverage for vessels crossing the Black Sea. Many insurers are hesitant to insure this section of the route, forcing shippers and platform companies to seek alternatives. Avoiding the Black Sea is expected to reduce travel time. Industry insiders note that the journey across two seas for China-Europe trains can exceed 90 days.

The new route was chosen to replace shipping via the Black Sea with rail transport through Turkey. In the wake of the war in Ukraine, Turkey has in fact seen a surge in transport flows. In the case of most trains directed to central Europe, for example, many companies have abandoned the northern route through Russia due to the EU sanctions on the Kremlin. If these companies still wish to transport their freight to Europe by rail, they will therefore need to take a detour via Turkey.

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