By Sun Chao, People’s Daily
The first train of a combined sea-rail transport service to Africa departed Zhuzhou, central China’s
Hunan province, on Sept. 15.
Carrying 86 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of rice aided by China to Africa, the train arrived
at the Nansha port of Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province the next morning, where the
containers were transferred onto a ship before being transported to the Mombasa Port in Kenya by
The train marked the launch of a new sea-rail logistics route linking cities in and around Hunan
province and African countries, effectively shortening the shipping time and lowering logistics
The new logistics route covers 11 African seaports and 20 roads and railways to inland Africa.
Compared with traditional sea-river shipping, the sea-rail mode reduces the shipping time between
China and Africa by 15 days. Besides, it can also shorten the logistics time to East Africa by 10
days and that to West Africa by 9 days, saving 3 percent of the transport cost.
Typically, cargos are shipped to ports by road for second-leg transport. Cargos now get to ports on
rail tracks thanks to the sea-rail mode, saving nearly 60 percent of the first-leg cost.
To ensure a successful departure of the first train of the combined sea-rail transport service to
Africa, the Changsha Cargo Shipment Center under China Railway Guangzhou Bureau Group
Cooperation Limited, the operator of the route, enhanced its coordination and synergy on
organizing, dispatching, and logistics cost to optimize its working procedure and reduce the
shipping time further, taking the combined sea-rail transport service as a priority of its work.
“We have learned our clients’ demands for cargo handling in advance and then analyzed our
shipping capability in a targeted manner to ensure maximum capacity,” said Yan Minghui, director
of the marketing department of the Changsha cargo shipment center.
“This is a new foreign trade channel of Hunan province and will become an important logistics
route linking central and western China with African countries,” said Guo Ning, director of the
Office of Port of Entry and Exit of Hunan province.
According to him, Zhuzhou is a major distribution center of the new logistics channel, and
Hengyang, another city in Hunan province, serves as a sub-center. He said that the channel is
seamlessly connected with the maritime transport services between the ports in the Guangdong-
Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the African continent.. Logistics services will be
extended to various countries in inland Africa via the channel, radiating Latin America, the Asia-
Pacific region, and the Middle East.
Trains are expected to be running regularly for the combined sea-rail transport service, making it a
vital logistics channel connecting central and western China with African countries. It will share
the dividends of China’s economic and social development with African countries.