GEFCO Chief: Slovakia Could Feature Rail Terminal for New Silk Road

Freight train from Dalian, China arrives in Bratislava on November 13, 2017. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 28 (TASR) – Slovakia could feature a transport terminal that would make up part of the Chinese One Belt One Road initiative, GEFCO managing board chairman Luc Nadal has told TASR.

“China is promoting its initiative One Belt One Road, which is an update of the medieval Silk Road, and we can see that this concept has also captured the interest of our customers. Rail transport has huge prospects in this, while we know about a project of extending the broad-gauged railway from Russia and Ukraine to western Slovakia, which has good transport links to important markets in Western Europe. So this is why we’d be able to imagine in Slovakia the existence of a terminal for transporting goods from China and to China as part of the New Silk Road,” said Nadal.

Rail transport in trade with China involves several benefits compared to other forms of transport. For example, it can guarantee the delivery of goods within 15 days, noted Nadal.

“Air transport is too expensive and has low capacity. Maritime transport takes too long, frequently as many as 50 days. Railways are interesting mainly for goods that need to be transported quickly. This doesn’t only concern mobile phones and electronic products overall, but also components for the automotive industry and luxury cars produced in Europe,” said Nadal.

Meanwhile, the EU in its White Paper on Transport has also proposed to move transport from roads to railways. It ventures to shift 30 percent of road lorry transport with distances above 300 km to other forms of transport by 2030, while this transfer should amount to 50 percent by 2050.

“Rail transport is an effective solution in long-distance transport of goods, in areas with high traffic density and scarce road networks, while it’s also beneficial in terms of delivery schedules,” said Nadal, adding that rail transport also produces relatively little emissions.

GEFCO, which has established business in 150 countries, is one of the top European companies in transport and logistics. The group in 2016 posted a turnover of €4.2 billion and had 12,000 employees.