JAPANESE logistics company Nippon Express has launched a new cross-border rail freight service between Suzhou, China, and Hanoi, Vietnam, in response to capacity shortages on shipping corridors between China and Southeast Asia. 

The service runs between Suzhou West station and Hanoi’s Yen Vien station via Nanning and the border city of Pingxiang, offering lead times of between eight and 10 days. 

The service will provide an eco-friendly, efficient alternative to road and ocean freight between China and southeast Asia, which is currently plagued by congestion.  

Nippon Express hopes to further develop rail services between the two countries and is investigating potential ways to combine its rail operations with other transport modes.

The new service is part of Nippon Express’ plans to initiate a modal shift to rail, which also includes plans announced in October 2020 to double the number of China - Europe freight trains it operates from around 2500 return journeys a year to 5000 round trips.