965 - China Europe trainRail Freight

Can Turkey connect China to Europe?

Both Baku-Tbilisi-Kars and Marmaray projects which are told to be key for China-Europe transport have been commissioned.

The North Corridor connecting China to Europe via Russia has developed fast in last 10 years. Volumes almost doubled every year, transit times shortened, prices halved.

Now, after commissioning of Marmaray and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project, Middle Corridor is getting prepared for a hard competition with North.

Here below is the comparison of North and Middle corridors:

North is faster

Trains cover the distance between China and Turkey in 3 weeks. With the 4 days for Turkey-Europe, transit time reaches to 25 days. Middle Corridor is a little longer and trains have to cross Caspian Sea by ferry.

Both the Kazakhstan-Russia and Trans-Siberian routes can reach from China to Europe in 15 days.

Middle is more expensive

The cost between China and Turkey, though valid only for one region, is 3000 USD/container. Together with the Turkey-Europe, the total cost reaches to 5000 USD.

In both corridors of North, the cost is under 4000 USD.

Most run through North

245k TEU was carried in first 11 months of 2018 in Kazakhstan-Russia route, and 590k TEU in first 8 months of Trans Siberian route.

On the other hand, 15k TEU was carried through Middle Corridor (Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan-Georgia). Though seems low, this was a huge increase compared to 2017 with 200 TEU. 5 of these trains arrive at Turkey.

More LSPs in south

On Trans Siberian route, a train departing from China crosses Russia, Belarus and Poland before reaching Germany.

On North Corridor, one more country is added to list above: Kazakhstan.

On Middle Corridor, countries te bo passed are as follows: Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania/Serbia, Hungary, Avustria.

Diversity in Middle Corridor

North Corridor hosts generally loads between Europe and China, and Kazakhstan-China.

On the other hand, Middle Corridor hosts many freight corridors such as Turkey-Europe, Europe-Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan-Mediterranean ports, Azerbaijan-Turkey, Turkey-Kazakhstan.

New players in the market

North Corridor is dominated by RJD and DB Schenker. Both companies supported this corridor from the beginning, and yet became the market leaders.

Middle Corridor will highlight new players. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan Railways already get the control. TCDD Tasimacilik is planning to be in international market by its own containers.

Rail Cargo, which has an important share in Turkey-Europe container transport market, aims to start the Wien-Baku train soon.

Cover photo: Far East Land Bridge ©

1 reply »

  1. hello
    i would like to visit turkey i really like this country , if i am from Germany do i need to get visa ?
    pleas help me
    thanks for ur help and for your great information


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