Train line to cut freight costs for Yiwu goods

By MA ZHENHUAN in Hangzhou| China Daily| Updated:  January 3, 2024 L M S


A Fuxing high-speed train exits a tunnel in Shengzhou on the Ningbo-Jinhua Railway in Zhejiang province as the railway opened on Sunday. ZHANG LIANGZONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

A long-awaited rail connection in Zhejiang province between the world's largest small commodity hub and the world's largest port in terms of tonnage opened on Sunday.

The 188.3-kilometer Ningbo-Jinhua Railway connects Yiwu, the world's largest small commodity hub in Jinhua, and Ningbo, which is home to the busy Ningbo Zhoushan Port.

Cargo between Jinhua and Ningbo is currently transported by road, but the completion of the line will see that change in future.

In recent years, increasing cargo and insufficient parking and container yards have led to congestion on the roads near the port.

Road transport between the two cities necessitates a detour through suburban Hangzhou, which further increases the transport time.

The direct rail link between Jinhua and Ningbo began construction in 2016, and cuts the travel time between Yiwu and Ningbo by rail to an hour and 28 minutes.

"The direct connection between Yiwu and Ningbo Zhoushan Port will reduce transportation costs by at least 40 percent," said Wang Jinping, general manager of Tengxin International Logistics.

The railway is expected to handle 2.9 million containers annually.

Though the service is limited to passenger trains at the moment, the Ningbo-Jinhua Railway is testing a freight loading model that would allow trains on the line to carry double-stacked containers above the regular height on China's freight rail network.

The tall freight loading model increases efficiency and allows a greater number of containers of different sizes to be carried.

To achieve double-deck high-container transport, facilities and tunnels along railways need to be modified.

As most regular-speed railways in China are shared for passenger and freight transportation, the modifications would interrupt extensive passenger and freight transportation operations.

The Ningbo-Jinhua Railway pilot transport model will help establish standards and norms for the construction and roll out of railways for double-deck high-container transport, according to an official from the railway.