The New Silk Road

GRAPHIC BY BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK DATA: FAR EAST LAND BRIDGE, CHINESE MINISTRY OF COMMCERCE, CHONGQING MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT

Shipping along the Trans-Siberian Railway is an alternative to costly air freight and slow container ships, offering speedy transit of goods from China’s industrial hubs to European markets. An alternate route goes through Kazakhstan.

A container’s travel time from China to Europe

Train 21 days (6,946 miles)

Container ship 40 days (12,427 miles)

Goods moving west: laptops, LCD TV screens, auto parts, and steel products

Goods moving east: auto components, wine, luxury goods, and recycled materials

Containers must be transferred from standard-gauge to Russian-gauge rails for transit across Russia and much of Eastern Europe.

Russian gauge: 1,520mm

Standard gauge: 1,435mm

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