The German city of Duisburg, the world’s largest inland container port, has become a logistics hotspot for Eurasian traders and logistic players thanks to its location. Being at the west end of the Yuxinou Railway, Duisburg links the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing to Europe.The rule of thumb is rail costs 14 times ocean transport. When they eliminate the crews on vessels, that rate will actually improve. On the other hand, rail can take a lot of people, and most of the work can be eliminated by robotics as well.
But still a maximum train load would be about 600 TEUs, and any decent ocean going vessel can haul 3000 TEUs, dirt cheap and without traffic and derailment problems.
China must know this, since it is asserting its claim to the ocean trade lanes, to the chagrin of Vietnam, Philippines, and other South Sea claimants (as well as claims off Taiwan).
Rail has not been a big center of innovation, but it may now become so if it is to be expanded anew in search of new markets.
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