stazione treni

Summer 2020: rail services on the rise. An overview

During this summer, characterized by a constant attention to the anti Covid-19 standards, has been noticed a marked increase in rail transport services, thanks to the advantages that this type of transport offers in terms of organization, logistics and health care.

Among the advantages of this type of transport:

  • Non-needed contacts are reduced thanks to the lower number of people employed compared to road transport, even though they handle the same amount of goods
  • Sanitizing the driving position of a locomotive optimizes the sanitizing process, as it corresponds to several containers instead of just one truck
  • The fixed departure times of the trains allow plannable transit times and guarantee a high level of punctuality in delivery
  • With a train you can transport several tons of goods, optimizing time and costs.

All this, without forgetting the greater environmental sustainability of the train compared to road and air transport, an element that is also underlined at the European Union level by the proposal of the European Commission, supported by the Council, to establish for 2021 the European Year of Railways as a green, innovative and safe form of transport and as a fundamental element for a transition towards a more sustainable mobility.

It is therefore not surprising that the end of the summer has brought with it an increase in new rail services within Europe and between Europe and China.

The exchanges with China continue, among PPE and consumer goods

Also during the month of August there were several transport activities on the Europe-China axis, further confirming the importance of this market.

For example, as part of the Covid-19 emergency management, 10 special trains from Xi’an to Milan were scheduled to transport PPE and medical equipment to cover national needs.

Organized by the Civil Protection in coordination with the Italian Embassy in Beijing, this operation provided a direct service via Budapest, thus avoiding the congestion in Brest that had been causing heavy delays for several weeks (source: Ship2Shore).

Moreover, it should be noted that at the end of August a freight train loaded with tons of products – including electronics and basic necessities – departed from Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan Province (Southwest China) to Tilburg in the Netherlands, thus reaching 6,000 journeys on rail routes between Chengdu and Europe since the opening of the service in 2013.

So far, it is estimated that the trains in service on this route have transported goods worth around $29 billion (source: The MediTelegraph).

The positive trend of rail transport as seen from interports and terminals

The data coming from the Bologna Interporto for the month of July 2020 (here the complete report) testify that the railway is increasing its activity.

In the month of July, in fact, while the truck sector showed a stationary flow compared to the same period of last year (-0.9%), the railway sector showed a significant increase, both in trains (+38.6% compared to July 2019 and +31.7% compared to June 2020) and railway wagons (+19.6% compared to last year and +31.6% compared to June 2020).

A real boom in rail transport with a cumulative January-July period that shows a value equal to +12.3% compared to 2019.

But that’s not all: the Busto Arsizio-Gallarate Terminal is preparing to handle trains 740 meters long (source: Trasporto Europa), while in August 2020 there has been the formal start for the construction of a new intermodal structure, specifically designed to enhance combined transport along the Brenner axis: the new railway terminal of Isola della Scala, near Verona. (source: Trasporto Europa).

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