China Railway Group has debuted its newly designed 50ft containers, intended for use on the country’s emerging express rail network that is part of its domestic intermodal services.
On Wednesday morning this week, 46 50ft containers departed from Guangzhou International Port Station, on one of several intermodal express trains. At some time, other trains also carrying 50ft containers, departed from Shanghai Minhang Station, Changsha North Station, and Kunming Wangjiaying West Station.
This marks a breakthrough in the innovation of China’s railway freight equipment, aimed at facilitating domestic and international logistics.
Each 50ft unit weighs 36 tonnes, has a load capacity of 30.85 tonnes, and a volume of 114.4 cubic metres, which is some 50% more than 40ft containers currently used in seaborne box shipping.
China Railways indicated that currently the 50ft containers are to be used only for inland rail transportation, with trains operating of speeds up to 120km/hour.
The company’s representative said: “This service is based on trunk railway transportation with rapid collection and distribution at both ends. These containers will greatly enhance China’s inland container transportation capabilities and significantly reduce logistics costs.”
Departures and arrivals at fixed points shorten the running time on the way. The total transportation time from Guangzhou International Port Station to Changsha North Station is 10 hours; Shanghai Minhang Station to Guangdong Changping Station is 27 hours; and Kunming Wangjiaying West Station to Guangdong Zhaoqing Station is 40 hours.
These transit times are at least 50% than ordinary freight trains.
Furthermore, the trains run on electric locomotives, saving more energy and producing less emissions than trucking. Emissions from rail freight are said to be just 8% of those from trucking.
Based on demand, China Railway will gradually expand the operation of 50ft container express trains to major economic regions across the country.