Yesterday, I wrote a relatively short post highlighting some China's overland transportation challenges and opportunities based on an article in World Trade Magazine. Today, I’d like to share a couple of insights from the same piece regarding China's logistical development from a rail perspective. In contrast to the trucking industry, the Chinese government is taking a more active role to insure the availability of much needed capacity. According to World Trade "The country will develop 40 intermodal terminals, 18 logistics parks, and 100 container handling terminals. Government spending of $190 billion in then rail sector will add 11,000 miles of track by the end of the decade."
According to one official quoted in the article, this will be the "biggest (infrastructure investment) in China's history." But track mile is not the only gauge of progress. "The government is also improving its rail freight capacity by upgrading the current 60-ton trains used widely throughout the country with 70-ton trains. The new 70-ton trains can carry more weight and run at a speed of 120 kilometers per our, compared to the 80 kilometers per hour for the 60-ton trains." Given that today, rail can only satisfy "35% of cargo demand," this investment appears long overdue. Still, in contrast to India which is dragging its feet in regards to building an infrastructure solution for the 21st century, China appears to be on the right track.