Aktau port Credit Asian Development Bank
Aktau port Credit Asian Development Bank.

In response to the lockdown in Shanghai, Japanese logistics group Nippon Express has launched new intermodal services combining rail and maritime transport, connecting China and Europe.

One service, via the Caspian Sea, involves railing cargo from locations in China to the Kazakh port of Aktau. From there, the cargo will be shipped across the Caspian Sea to Baku, Azerbaijan, where the goods are railed to Istanbul. The final leg will see the cargo railed or trucked to European destinations, with the entire journey taking 50 to 55 days.

Logistics in China have been disrupted by recurring Covid-19 outbreaks that have seen Shanghai locked down and movement restrictions imposed in another port city, Tianjin.

The Shanghai lockdown caused airport and port congestion, and trucking in the East China area connecting to Shanghai’s suburbs continues to face difficulties, although the ministry of transport said on Thursday the situation was improving.

A Nippon Express spokesperson told The Loadstar: “We aim to maintain our customers’ supply chains by offering solutions such as this service to Europe and these two transport services. The Caspian Sea service will supplement the China Railway Express route to Europe.

“We don’t set a specific quantity limit for the containers we book, but the quantity may be limited, depending on the situation.”

Nippon Express’s China office has also been offering an intermodal transport service that involves shipping cargo from either Qingdao and Lianyungang ports in northern China and Ningbo and Wenzhou ports in the south.

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