First China to Barking train en route laden with goods

By Chris Dawson January 8, 2017 - 9:30 pm

Traditionally if you were sourcing stock in China you’d either pay to fly small lightweight items to the UK, or you would be waiting a couple of months for them to be loaded onto a ship and make their way across the high seas. Now there’s a new alternative, the train.

In an unlikely move, there’s a new China Railway Corporation service direct from Zhengzhou passing from China through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belguim and France before crossing under the English Channel on the Eurostar route to arrive in Barking, Essex.

The first 200 container train left last Sunday but the mammoth 12,000 mile journey takes 18 days to complete and is part of a wider Chinese strategy to forge new trade links with the UK. Due to different railway gauges along what’s been dubbed “the New Silk Route”, containers will be offloaded onto new rolling stock in the course of it’s trip.

Cheaper than air freight, quicker that sea, there are some obvious advantages to shipping goods via train. If you’re importing from China ask your import agent if shipping by train would make commercial sense for your business.

  • Sam O'levski
    9 months ago

    I suppose if I were 25 years old again, I’d be filled with joy and wonder at this great business opportunity, but I cannot help wondering how many items within the 200 containers would have been made in Britain (Or even the Commonwealth) at some time in the past ?
    Obviously smartphones and so on didn’t exist in the 1960’s, but most of the stuff in pound shops would have been made here, giving employment to our workers (In between strikes and other industrial action !), so is it time to follow the lead of The Donald, and think about the futures of our own people ?
    At the very least we could require some sort of level playing field before allowing Chinese goods to enter the country, for example environmental concerns about poisonous waste from Chinese factories, and the lack of health and safety laws/enforcement.
    I wonder who the first few replies will be from….. Happy New Year to you all, whatever the case.

    • james`
      9 months ago

      You’re misunderstanding the nature of global trade.

      It is perfectly reasonable that China is a manufacturing powerhouse. Labour costs are cheaper and they have built out a competitive advantage.

      The UK is expensive at manufacturing low end goods. It wouldn’t make sense to use our labour resources to manufacture when we have a competitive advantage in services which can be used to trade for manufactured goods.

      The problem with the Chinese is not that they are cheaper to manufacture in, but that they don’t allow an open level field in their (Chinese) markets. Foreign companies are routinely shut out of projects and industry sectors and are sidelined in favour of Chinese companies.

      You could argue that those very goods produced in the 1960’s in the UK, were due to the British having ‘taken’ trade from many of their colonies for the benefit of British workers (at the expense of the colony). At every step someone will feel like they have been hard done by.

      Trade benefits everyone.

    • Gerard
      8 months ago

      Hasn’t Lady Theresa just made a big song and dance about Britain becoming a beacon for both Global and free trade? Isolation would probably, realistically kill us. For a start Britain doesn’t have the physical resources (precious metals etc.) to build the smartphones and technical gadgets we’re so accustomed to. Especially now that we don’t have an empire to steal from. This means that, while a ‘made in Britain’ stamp is twee, any future costs would be very, very steep. I have no problems at all buying from China if I’m buying quality (which is often the case). With a government that’s done little to raise my economic situation, I can’t afford British goods.

  • steve
    9 months ago

    I am curious to know what goes on the train on the back journey; Can’t believe it will travel back empty, so lets hope its full of high end luxury goods that we can make and sell to the Chinese

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