Nobody has ever heard of Kouvola, except the people who live there, but this small city of 80 000 folks now stands proudly at the other end of the Silk Railroad connected to Vladivostok.
They are now opening up a new freight railroad freight service to Xi’an to create another Silk Road that would pass through Russia and Kazakhstan all the way to China – some 8000 kilometres. Kazakhstan’s railways will be the operator and the main player.
Kazakhstan has invested heavily in both border crossing and electric tracks, and test transports from Finland to China have already been made with forest and steel products in containers. China already has about one hundred trains a month across Europe of which the nearest end point is Madrid in Spain.
The freight train is much much faster that shipping because it takes just 10 days while ships take some 60 days, thus reducing the need for stock levels considerably.
Kouvola already has a large logistics container centre, with containers coming by train from Russia and then going forward by boat, train and lorry to other destinations to other parts of Europe.