INTERNATIONAL: A joint working group is to be established to facilitate improvements to container train services between China and Europe.

This follows the signing in late April of a multilateral agreement by Belarusian Railway, China Railway Corp, Deutsche Bahn, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, Poland’s PKP, Russian Railways and Ulaanbaatar Railway.

The national railways aim to deepen their co-operation to help increase rail’s share of the Eurasian freight market and strengthen international trade links.

Plans include offering competitive through rates and uniform end-to-end service standards, as well as reducing transit times, co-ordinating the development of infrastructure including logistics facilities and introducing technologies to support electronic exchange of freight data. Simplified border procedures and a reduction in customs clearance times would be designed to support the growth of postal and refrigerated container traffic.