By Marc Esquirol

Last week we talked about the transportation modes and the advantages and disadvantages of each one. This interested me and I searched for the global trends in transportation of goods between China and Europe.

I found this article that talks about these trends and also gives data of the costs of the most used modes (air, ocean and rail) and the time that each one takes to do the travel. The global trend is the use of the rail route and there are different factors that explain it. Air freight, even it takes only 10 days on average, it is too expensive for most of companies. The chargeable weight in a 40-foot container is about 9,600kg, and the price charged to customers for air was $37,000 per FEU.

That same FEU would cost $3,000 via ocean freight and by rail costs around $8,000. The difference between ocean and rail is the time. Rail takes an average of 23-25 days while ocean 50-55. Furthermore, after the crisis, shippers turned to the ocean because air freight became too expensive; and this increased the transit between Asia and Europe.

However, air fright is still important for a lot of companies, and some of them are using multimodal rail-air services. When they want to send something from China to Brazil for example, they use the rail to ship the goods to Europe and then the air to ship them to Brazil. It takes less time than if they do it by ocean.

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