The national railways of Russia and China signed a memorandum on June 8 agreeing to jointly develop a market for ‘high speed' freight services between China, Russia and Europe. Target market sectors for China Railway Express and RZD Logistics include cross-border electronic commerce and express delivery services which would use Federal Passenger Co trains.

Freight forwarder Damco has announced that its China – France FCL and LCL rail service will run weekly. ‘The new weekly east – west rail service will enable Damco’s customers to develop a more agile supply chain, allowing them to react swiftly to consumer behaviour and changes in the market’, said Caroline Wu, CEO of Damco Greater China Area, on June 11.

An agreement to co-operate in the Asia – Europe rail freight market was signed by Deutsche Bahn and Georgian Railway on June 12. DB would be responsible for organising rail transport within the EU, with multimodal transport handled by DB Schenker. Georgian Railway will be responsible for transport from the Romanian port of Constanța to Georgia and Azerbaijan, and onward transport to eastern Asia via the Caspian Sea.

GB Railfreight has purchased 16 serviceable, stored or non-running donor Class 56 locomotives from UK Rail Leasing. The operator said it was not able to confirm any projected re-engineering, as this was still subject to final contract. ‘This is an important deal for us as it provides much needed capacity for our expanding business‘, said Managing Director John Smith on June 15.

The American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association has selected Bergmann, HDR and RL Banks & Associates as preferred providers to support members in writing applications for US federal and other grants. ‘The FY18 transportation appropriations bill provided unprecedented funding levels, with $1·5bn in BUILD grants’, said ASLRRA President Linda Bauer Darr. ‘Our new preferred provider grant writing centre will ensure that our members are well prepared to take advantage of these funding opportunities, which can be used to maintain safe track and grow services to customers or to meet the mandate to comply with PTC.’

Kerry Logistics Network has launched a rail service from Lianyungang in China via Kazakhstan to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, using the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars railway. Block train and single wagon services are offered, with a transit time of 18-20 days. The range of freight transported is expected to include electronic parts, electrical appliances, minerals, car parts and industrial goods. Kerry also offers a lorry service with a transit time of 12-14 days.

Linda Bauer Darr is to step down as Chair of the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association on July 27 to become CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies.

The transport ministers of Russia and Mongolia signed an intergovernmental agreement on transporting goods by rail on June 8. This provides Mongolian exports with discounted Russian transit tariffs for 25 years; coal exports will receive a 66·4% discount and containers a 52% discount.

Getlink’s Le Shuttle Freight recorded the best May in its history with 143 924 lorries transported through the Channel Tunnel in May 2018, up 2% on May 2017. Le Shuttle passenger traffic in May increased 8% year-on-year to 230 724 passenger vehicles transported.