Demand for road freight in Central Asia is also increasing following a surge in China-Europe rail freight traffic in July.
According to China National Railway Group, 1,517 Silk Road trains operated in July, up 11 percent year-on-year, with volumes up 12 percent to 149,000 teu.
However, total throughput for the first seven months rose just 4 percent to 869,000 TEUs, continuing the slowdown in growth.
But Chengdu-based New Silk Road Multimodal noted that congestion on the network has improved over the past week. Stacked containers at the Kazakhstan border are being reloaded and delays have improved at all departure points," said the freight forwarder.
"Overall transit times for trains to Europe and Russia are gradually picking up. However, the overall market situation is relatively weak, with ample space and freight rates down about 5 percent. Due to weakened purchasing power in overseas markets, there were factory power restrictions in some parts of China."
Nevertheless, Rail Bridge Cargo said port congestion caused by strikes in Europe is pushing up demand for rail freight.
"We are seeing more and more requests to use Central European rail rather than sea freight, as loading and unloading times at the largest ports are causing delays of five to eight days, on top of existing delays in container shipping and transit times."
Interestingly, rail connectivity issues in Northern Europe are also affecting sea exports. For example, intermodal operator Metrans said yesterday that the main corridor from the Czech Republic to Hamburg was experiencing "significant train delays" due to train accidents, derailments and damaged rail contact lines.
Metrans added: "Unfortunately, due to this operational situation, we are unable to guarantee that export containers reach the ships in time."
More and more guests from European countries are opting for rail transport compared to sea transport.