The Rail Cargo Group is already underway between China and Europe with three regular train connections. With a direct freight train from China to Vienna, the RCG is rapidly advancing the development of other China traffic. In addition to the Changsha-Budapest and Chongqing-Duisburg connections with one round trip per week each as well as Taiyuan-Lugo/Italy with ad-hoc trains, RCG is now accelerating the expansion of its high-frequency intermodal network beyond European borders with the first direct connection between the Chinese metropolis of Chengdu and Vienna.
The first trip of the 41-container freight train starts on 12 April from Chengdu, the capital of the Chinese province of Sichuan. The next 9,800 kilometres will take the approximately 600-meter-long container train through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Austria. At the transhipment terminal on the Ukrainian-Slovak border, the change from broad gauge to standard gauge takes place. The transcontinental container train will finally reach its destination at the reception terminal, the freight centre of Vienna South. From there, the goods are transported to the final destination. The train is operated on behalf of the Chengdu Railway Port Group, CMA CGM and DHL China and is carrying electronic components, lighting materials and household goods, among other things. Further transport operations on the Chengdu-Vienna route are already being planned.
Together with the Chinese partner company Chengdu International Rail Port Group, RCG has realised the first direct freight train from China to Vienna, which was ceremoniously launched from the Qingbaijang railway station in Chengdu. Both Federal President Van der Bellen and representatives of the Ministries and Economic Chamber, as well as ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä and the two board members of the Rail Cargo Group, Thomas Kargl and Erik Regter, accepted the invitation. "Since we already handle regular door-to-door transport between Europe and Asia, we want to establish a direct connection from China to Vienna in the future. This will make a decisive contribution to accelerating the networking of trade routes between the two neighbouring continents", says CEO Andreas Matthä.
From the heart of China to the federal capital
The rail link between Vienna and the city of Chengdu, which lies almost in the centre of China, is a particular focus of RCG, since the metropolis has the largest railway hub in China. Most trains to Europe are dispatched from there. Chengdu, on the Chinese Silk Road and at the same time on the economic belt of the Yangtze River, is an essential part of China's free trade area and strives to expand its position as an industrial centre and hub for international trade and logistics. The turnover of the Chengdu Railway Container Centre currently amounts to around 2.8 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units). With around 14 million inhabitants, it is expected that the capital of the Chinese province of Sichuan will become more important in the coming years, since Chengdu is being strengthened as a domestic hub by the Chinese government.
In addition, the entire Sichuan region is experiencing steady economic growth: compared with 2016, Sichuan's gross domestic product as well as its industrial production increased by more than 8% in 2017. Sichuan is a leader in the manufacture of televisions, steel, cement, chemical fibres, wine, Chinese medicine, natural gas production and electricity generation. At the end of 2017, 235 foreign Fortune 500 companies were represented in Sichuan, including Intel, Sony, UPS and Sanyo.