Rail Freight

Sustainable, Reliable, Flexible

Quick, cost-effective
& green

Rail freight offers businesses a fast, economic and eco-friendly alternative for shipping goods between China and Europe. Our extensive experience, commitment to excellence and high standards of customer service make us the go-to choice for businesses seeking efficient and reliable transportation solutions. Our team will be happy to discuss the benefits of rail transport with you – reach out and let’s talk about how ITS Cargo can optimize your supply chain and help your business thrive in the global marketplace.

The New Silk Road:
A Crucial Transportation Link with a Long History

The Silk Road, historically known as a network of trade routes connecting Asia with Europe, has a rich history that dates back over 2,000 years. It was originally used as a trade route for silk, spices and other luxury goods, but over time became a major artery for the exchange of ideas, cultures and religions.

The modernized and expanded ‘New’ Silk Road has rapidly developed into a crucial transportation link between manufacturing hubs and consumer markets in two of the world’s largest economies. Since the first train traveled from China to Germany in 2011, rail transport has become increasingly popular due to its shorter transit times, lower cost and improved infrastructure.

Faster Transit Times

Rail freight achieves significantly faster transit times than ocean freight: making it an ideal choice for businesses with more time-sensitive shipments. The rail network is constantly expanding, building more rail hubs and terminals and increasing the available routes. As well as providing flexibility and choice over frequent departure schedules, transit times between Asia and Europe are at an all-time low.

Cost-Effective Solutions

Shipping by rail is also far more economic than air, allowing substantial savings for businesses moving large quantities of goods. ITS Cargo offers both Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL) solutions, ensuring that we can cater to your specific requirements and offer the best prices available.

Equipment and Operations

For FCL shipments, goods shipped by rail are loaded into regular 40’ or 40HC shipping containers (the same ones used for ocean freight) and in most cases a freight train will carry 41 containers. 20’ containers can also be used, if two are booked together and loaded as a pair. Open top containers and flat-bed wagons are also available which enables carriage of larger goods and bulk freight. Once picked up, containers are moved by truck to one of the network’s rail terminals for loading and departure.

Unparalleled Flexibility and Reliability

Rail freight offers greater flexibility and reliability through fixed, frequent schedules over an expansive network, alongside stable lead times and capacity. Our team of experts work closely with businesses to understand their specific requirements and provide tailored solutions that enable them to access the best price and service for their cargo. With our door-to-door service, we ensure that your shipments are delivered efficiently and safely, meeting the supply chain demands of you and your network.

Adaptable Solutions with an Expansive Network

Access to an ever-expanding network of carriers and pan-Asia routes allows us to be adaptable and select the best end-to-end solution at any given time. Our partnerships directly with rail carriers enable us to offer various service combinations, shipping between any origin and destination point in China or Europe, Eastbound or Westbound. This flexibility ensures that we can accommodate the unique needs of your business and deliver your cargo with speed and efficiency.

Compliance with Industry Regulations

At ITS Cargo, we understand the importance of complying with industry regulations and ensuring the safety of your shipments. Our team of experts stays up-to-date with the latest regulations and works closely with businesses to ensure that their cargo is handled and shipped in accordance with all applicable rules and guidelines. This commitment to compliance not only protects your business but also contributes to the overall safety and efficiency of the global supply chain.

Rail freight: a sustainable, secure & stable alternative

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Transportation

As businesses worldwide strive to reduce their carbon footprint and improve sustainability, rail freight has emerged as a quick, secure and green alternative to traditional modes of transport. Producing lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions, rail transport is considered a more environmentally friendly transit solution. By choosing ITS Cargo’s rail freight services, you are not only selecting an efficient way to transport your goods and optimize your supply chain, but also making a conscious decision to support green initiatives and contribute to a more sustainable future.

LCL by Rail

Rail transportation is quickly becoming the preferred solution for LCL shipping between Asia and Europe: even more-so for heavy and sensitive cargo. We have multiple consolidations per week, meaning minimal waiting time at origin waiting for other cargo and once containers arrive to Europe our own cross-docking warehouse expedites recovery, meaning goods are available for delivery within a few hours. Following customs clearance (or T1), ITS Cargo’s trucking network can then complete delivery anywhere in mainland Europe within 2-3 days. Avoid lengthy cut-offs, port omissions, congested container terminals and delays in cargo availability: Transform your Asia – EU shipping experience with LCL rail freight!

Double-Deck Magic

At ITS we are constantly looking for new ways to help our customers improve their supply chain and reduce costs. To enable more efficient loading and utilization of space we offer a “Double-Deck” rail solution for both FCL and LCL shipments, at competitive prices. Pioneered and developed for heavy, non-stackable cargo this creative solution maximizes efficiency without risk to sensitive cargo by building a ‘second floor’ inside the container. For applicable cargo, your business can make substantial savings Vs standard rail service, while reducing both carbon emissions and your logistics budget. Reach out to our team for a same-day quotation (FCL & LCL).

Intermodal Options

As a global forwarder, at ITS Cargo we are constantly expanding our network and capabilities to better serve our customers. Our intermodal transportation solutions offer a seamless integration of road freight with other modes of transportation, such as air, ocean and rail. This enables us to provide comprehensive, efficient and tailor-made solutions to manage your supply chain, according to your unique requirements and priorities.

The same containers are used for rail and ocean transport and can be transported on trucks, though each mode of containerized transport has its own advantages. By combining various processes we utilize these and build a tailor-made route for your cargo, balancing cost-efficiency, speed and flexibility. This can avoid unnecessary re-loading of cargo and enables quick, seamless transitions.

Transit time by rail from China to Europe is at an all-time low. Coupled with ITS’ express trucking at each end we can achieve record-time, Door to Door deliveries, offering a viable alternative to Air.

Contact Us Today

Contact us today  about rail freight. Let’s review your needs and find out how we can help you with a range of solutions to meet your specific requirements. Trust us to handle your rail cargo and we’ll deliver your cargo to its destination safely and securely, every time.

Rail Freight Services FAQs

Rail freight is the transportation of goods by train. It is a cost-effective, eco-friendly and secure mode of transportation, ideal for shipping large volumes of goods over long-distance.

Almost any type of goods can be shipped via rail freight, including consumer goods, raw materials, and industrial products. Though ITSCargo does not impose any specific constraints, certain hazardous materials, dangerous goods and batteries may be subject to carrier and government restrictions.

The Silk Road is an ancient trade route that connected China and Europe. Today, it refers to the network of transportation routes that connect China, Europe, and other regions via rail and other modes of transportation. The Silk Road has become an important route for international trade and commerce, especially for rail freight.

There are two main types of rail freight services:

Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL).
FCL is used when the shipper has enough goods to fill an entire container, while LCL is used when the shipper has goods that do not fill an entire container. In FCL, the entire container is used by one shipper, while in LCL, the container is shared by multiple shippers under consolidation.

Goods are loaded in standard intermodal shipping containers – the same containers used in ocean freight. The most common are 40 feet and High Cube containers. 20 feet containers are accepted (by rail carriers), but only as a pair, under one booking. Open top containers and flat-racks are also available, upon request.

For FCL shipments, rates are quoted per container. For an LCL shipment, rail freight will generally be based on the volume (CBM) of the goods. To get an accurate cost estimate, our rail freight team will be happy to review your details and assist with a comprehensive quote.

The final destination of the China-Europe Rail service will generally depend on the consignee’s location, and therefore which rail routing is used. The service provides door-to-door delivery, which means the cargo is delivered directly to the consignee’s location. The rail network connects to multiple, major terminals and rail hubs in Europe, including Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Spain.

As with shipping containerized goods by ocean, shippers can choose to send both stackable and non-stackable cargo by rail, and the same process and rate system applies. An FCL shipment will be a flat rate per container and you can optimize the space inside within the maximum weight restrictions. For LCL cargo, rail freight is charged per CBM. In many cases, if goods are non-stackable, charges may be applied for the full height of the container. ITSCargo offers a pioneered solution of double-deck containers, minimizing wasted space for non-stackable cargo. Reach out to our rail team who will be happy to give you more details.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global infrastructure development strategy launched by the Chinese government in 2013. It aims to further develop connectivity between China, Asia, Europe, and Africa through a network of railways, highways, ports and other infrastructure projects. The initiative is designed to promote economic development, trade, and cultural exchange between participating countries. The BRI includes two main components: the Silk Road Economic Belt, which focuses on land-based infrastructure projects, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which focuses on sea-based infrastructure projects.

Yes. In fact rail transit is deemed one of the most secure forms of transport in general. Unlike by Air, cargo is shipped door to door inside a closed and sealed container, so there are far less hands-on throught the process. Unlike with sea transportation, the containers themselves are subject to far less movement than ocean going vessels, so there is much less risk of cargo moving on route and being damaged. Freight trains are generally moving all the time and containers do not spend much time standing in ports or on track. This reduces points where there may be any risk of theft or cargo tampering.