In a world first, mail-only trains from China are helping clear the huge backlog of mail destined for Europe and deliver medical supplies.
The first train, the ‘China Post’ CR Express, was unloaded in Vilnius, Lithuania, carrying mail and two containers of medical supplies. Transport takes between 12-14 days.
Each train carries around 300 tons of mail and are the result of cooperation between China Post, Lithuania Post, Polish Post and railway operators. An estimated 2,000 tons of mail will be transported by rail from China over the next two or three months.
The use of the rail network to deliver mail was championed by the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) Supply Chain Team, who are currently working with representatives from Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, among others.
UPU’s director of postal operations, Abdelilah Bousseta says, “Sometimes supreme challenges can lead to good ideas and produce simplified solutions. At present, given the current situation, the train network is one of the very best solutions for moving the huge volumes of mail.”
Many of the train journeys end in Lithuania, although other trains go to Poland. Trucks then take the mail to destinations in more than 30 countries spread across Europe.