The New Highway to the West


After more than six months preparation, CEVA Logistics Greater China has sent the first ever TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) truck from Khorgos, China via Kazakhstan to Europe. The trial run was on 13 November, 2018 and was successfully operated as a joint initiative between CEVA Logistics, the IRU (International Road Transportation Union) and CEVA’s partners Alblas and Jet-rail. The truck arrived in Poland on 24 November, with no disruption or Customs issues after 11 days on the road. The closing TIR at its final destination was after 13 days on 26 November.

The new road service will deliver a cost saving of about 50% compared to air options. With a lead time door-to-door of between 10 to 15 days, it will be 30-50% faster than rail.

Customs sealed in Khorgos, the first TIR truck from China to Europe started its 7,000 kilometers journey via Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus to Poland in the afternoon of 13 November. It was a historic moment when the truck, operated by CEVA’s partner Alblas International Logistics, left Khorgos to cross the border into Kazakhstan.

“This is a day to remember. Together with our partners, we have trialed TIR all the way to Europe today the very first time,” said Kelvin Tang, Director Road & Rail” at CEVA Logistics Greater China.

Undoubtedly contributing to the success of the Belt & Road Initiative in the near future, the international customs transit system TIR became active for the People’s Republic of China in May 2018.

“Since then we started to investigate the possibility and feasibility of road transportation from China to Europe in order to find an alternative to the escalating air freight market,” says Torben Bengtsson, Executive Vice President of CEVA Logistics Greater China. “Thanks to the implementation of the TIR system this year, and the great support of IRU, the Research Institute of Highway Ministry of Transport (RIOH), and the Xinjiang government, we were able to make this trial run happen together with our partners Jet-rail International Transportation in Shanghai and Alblas International Logistics in the Netherlands. The trial proves that the TIR carnet issued in China is accepted in the transit countries en-route to Europe. The Government, IRU, RIOH and many other parties worked together to remove barriers and uncertainties.

“As a result we foresee a great future for road transportation from China to Europe. We have a lot of customers waiting for the start of a regular service. During the coming weeks we will work on some small details of the service and then prepare to start regular operations as early as possible in 2019,” Torben Bengtsson adds.

Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General, congratulated CEVA Logistics and its partners on the success of the trial: “This first TIR journey by road from China to Europe is a win-win-win model for business, trade and governments and will be a game changer for cross border transportation in China. It shows that the system is secure and also highly competitive in terms of cost and time relative to other modes of transport on similar routes. It will boost trade between China and Europe, which will help China and the countries along the Belt & Road route to reap the economic and development rewards of international road transport. It is also a wakeup call to European hauliers who can seize the opportunity to benefit from round trip operations”.