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China-Poland railway - but why Łódź?

29 Jul 2014 /  #1
I was reading an article in an English language Chinese newspaper and heard about the 'new' 'express' rail link between Chengdu in China's Sichuan Province (where the devilishly spicy food comes from) and £odz in Poland. Apparently many Chinese exporters, and not just from Chengdu, find it cheaper and quicker to use the rail route instead of the sea passage or the expensive air freight. It seems that there is not so much being exported back from Poland.

Actually £odz is not the actual destination of the freight. Rather the city is meant to be an entrepot, a sort of European Singapore, for export of goods onwards into the EU and then perhaps the collection of goods from Europe for forwarding to China.

Really the article was rather colourful but not a bit weak on facts and technical details. I mean: why was £odz in particular chosen as the terminus for the very long rail route? What sorts of goods are being carried?

I am presuming by the way that the railway from China through Russia to Poland is using the same standard gauge, though this is not the normal European gauge, I think.

Friends who live in £odz or visit the city often might be able to comment on the changes this railway has brought to the city, its infrastructure and commerce. Certainly it seems to have the potential to utterly transform the whole economy of that region of Poland.

I would like to hear your views and experiences. Thank you.

Frank O'Reilly
29 Jul 2014 /  #2
why was £odz in particular chosen as the terminus for the very long rail route?

£ódź is, as you suspected, already one of the key logistic centers in the whole European Union, and serves as a point of transfer for goods between the east (former Soviet Union) and the Western European countries
30 Jul 2014 /  #3
£ódź - maybe because of a huge railway cargo terminal, £ódź Olechów - one of the biggests in Poland:

And because of a central location of £ódź in Poland.

A track gauge in Russia and in Poland is different (apart from one one-track cargo line in southern Poland, so called LHS, which lays hundreds of kilometers south from £ódź: The train must change it on the Russia-Poland border. As far as I remember, in Russia it is 1520 mm, while in Poland (and in western Europe) 1435 mm.

Speaking about Polish-Russia border, I meant of course the border between Poland and countries of former Soviet Union, in this case probably Belarus. Sorry for this simplification.

And answering the question what is carried - I may mention this article:

From Lodz freight trains will go to China. This means that not only from the Middle Kingdom to the boat, but also in the other direction will flow goods on rails. The first line to Chengdu will begin in April - reported "Journal of Lodz".
Will mainly drove foreign paper, but also razors, manufactured in Lodz. Transportation company realizes Hatrans of Lodz in cooperation with YHF Hatrans Chengdu Logistics.

In April last year, began to run trains between Chengdu in central China and Lodz. Currently, the road is forty-train on this route. By the end of last year to station Olechowo reached thirty-five warehouses in China. Carried the auto parts, textiles, electronics and advertising materials, and even shoes. About 80 percent of the goods is in Poland, and the rest are transported to Germany, France, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Hungary.

The number of trains from Chengdu China to Lodz this year will be higher, as they began to run from January, not April, as in 2013. In total, they have to be about 50.

In short - form £ódź to China: mainly paper from somewhere out of Poland and safety razors produced in £ódź (Gilette factory). From China to Poland - car parts, clothes, electronics, commercial materials and shoes. 80% of incoming goods stays in Poland, the other part goes mainly to Germany, France and Czech Republic, but also to Slovakia and Hungary.

And I don't suppose it to be able to change the economy of the £ódź region in the following years. Nowadays the city of £ódź suffers from big social problems caused by the collapse of the textille industry in 1990s, which dominated in this city (in fact, thanks to this industry the city appeared and grew up in 19. century). And being a terminal of one train from China, while still most of goods comes by sea, won't change it.

On the other hand even without this train from China the region of £ódź (especially the area nearby the Stryków town) is alredy becoming an important logistics centre due to the location in the centre of Poland, nearby the newly-built intersection of the main highways in Poland: north-south (A1) and west-east (A2).

Sorry for so many posts, but after some time I cannot edit the previous posts any more even if I come up with something more.
30 Jul 2014 /  #4
This train will not improve £ódzkie economy, because it's too small scale. The amount transported is tiny in comparisone with seaport in Gdańsk and I've not heard it gaining more popularity. Quite opposite. I've heard that they had to postpone opening of this track few times, because couldn't find minimum number of clients.
OP frankdom  
30 Jul 2014 /  #5
Thanks to all for your explanations and also provision of links on this subject of China-Poland railway.
30 Jul 2014 /  #6
Its a great idea and we were looking at it seriously for a few months to bring goods to Poland but then guess what happened ? The noisy neighbors started arguing with each other again and suddenly sending all of your goods across Russia does not seem such a great idea.

I can't see it being a really viable proposition until the political instability in Russia and Central Asia is fixed - at the moment I would rather take our chances with Somali pirates and monopolistic shipping lines than with Putin and all the mini Putins in the Stans.
30 Jul 2014 /  #7
I don't think that Russia would like to make China angry just to do something against Poland. They have other options.
21 May 2018 /  #8
this railway has brought to the city, its infrastructure and commerce.

Glad to me for £odz.

Its all part of `One Belt One Road Initiative` and `Silk Road Economic Belt` (go Google that) Chinese strategic projects that have to secure trade and transportation routes between China (Asia) and destinations throughout the world. In Europe, China is focused on Eastern, South-Eastern and Central Europe. For now, hub of Chinese investments in Europe goes via Serbia, Hungary and Poland. But, official EU`s policy (read EU ruling powers of western Europe) imposing every possible obstacles to Chinese investments in these three countries and anywhere in Europe, sure, and not only in Europe. Its all part of competition that occurred in already emerged Multi-Polar world.

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