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Sea and rail mail from China replaces air cargo trade

Following on the heels of the China Post-COSCO collaboration, the customs and port authorities of Liaoning and Guangdong provinces in China have opened up intermodal channels to transport mail and parcels through a combination of shipping and rail.

On 15 May 2020, Liaoning Provincial Postal Administration arranged for 311 bags of mails and parcels, weighing a total of 5,955kg to be trucked to the provincial capital, Shenyang, to Dalian Dayao Bay. Following customs clearance, the mailbags, which were already in one 40ft standard container, were shipped from Dalian port to the US.

Two days later, 41 containers, containing postal items, were railed to Lithuania from Khorgos port in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. From Lithuania, the goods will be distributed into Europe. The goods were originally shipped from Guangzhou port in Guangdong province in early May.

Covid-19 has caused airlines to slash flights due to the resulting lockdowns and travel restrictions in many countries.

Insufficient flight capacity caused a backlog of mail for the Liaoning Provincial Postal Administration. The post that was shipped on 15 May was supposed to have been flown to the US. Liaoning’s postal service, unable to book flights, sought the help of Dalian’s customs office, which tailored the truck-and-shipping route. The success of this maiden postal shipment made Liaoning Provincial Postal Administration arrange for the transportation of another 100 tonnes of mail and parcels around 22 May.

The customs unit in Khorgos said that various government agencies are working together to solve the logistical bottleneck caused by the shrinking of international air transport capacity.

To this end, China-Europe trains have played an important role in facilitating international cargo channels. China Rail’s Q1 2020 cargo volumes were higher than a year ago, in part due to high demand for Chinese-made medical protection equipment.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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