Rail Freight

China-Turkey trains: How things are going?


China-Turkey-Europe railway connection is more under spots nowadays.

Sanctions and boycotts against Russia have speeded up the search for alternatives for China-Europe rail connection which had reached to 1.5 mn TEU last year. We examined the last status of China-Europe rail connection via Turkey which started with a train from China to Czechia in late 2019.

Kosekoy shines

Kosekoy Logistics Center, which is located on east of Izmit city center has been the departure/arrival station for China trains and took back the heavy traffic again. The station was being used by swapbody trains to Germany once. Kosekoy is the closest logistics center with railway connection for a huge industry area covering Asian side of Istanbul, Izmit and Adapazari. Kosekoy is also the closest rail terminal to Bursa and several ports in Izmit Bay including Derince Port, Dubai Port, Evyap Port and Yilport.

Connected to Europe via Marmaray and Halkali

Another advantage of Kosekoy is the regular freight train services between Halkali via Marmaray. Thus transhipment is done fast, easy and cheap to Halkali from where over 20 trains depart to Europe every week.

Europe-China in 25 days

The trains departing from Turkey arrives at Xian in 3 weeks. Together with Europe-Turkey stretch, total transit time is about 25 days. This is still much more than the transit time in North Corridor. The bottleneck is crossing the Caspian Sea. Trains are expected to run faster as number of trains increase on this line.

72 trains in 2 years

The number of trains between China and Turkey had reached to 72 in first two years, 62 of which are from China to Turkey and rest from Turkey to China. 3476 containers carried on these transports. The demand for this route has bursted in last weeks. The Operation Director, Mr Alper Taylan, stated that only last week, the demand has reached to 2000 containers, most of which belong to European companies. This amount is close to the total amount transported in 2021.

How it works?

China-Turkey trains are running on single route, Xian-Kosekoy, carrying 40-50 containers each time. Most of them are company trains, where all containers on one train belong to single client, where some others carry containers of several clients. If it’s a block train to Europe, it doesn’t stop anywhere for transhipment after loading on Turkish wagons at Georgian border (Akhalkalaki) and continue to Europe using Marmaray. If not, containers are transported from Kosekoy to Halkali by train and loaded onto a container service to Hungary, Austria or Germany there.

Cover photo: TCDD Taşımacılık ©

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