13-14/2016 External impulses
All eyes have once again been on China since the global recession started. General levels of prosperity have increased for the country’s population, it’s true, and domestic demand has also risen steadily of late, but these factors can’t compensate for declining demand from abroad.
The People’s Congress passed the country’s new five-year plan recently. One of its central elements is economic growth. It is expected to attain 6.5% or more annually through to the year 2020. The stated aim of doubling the country’s economic performance and its population’s income by the same year (compared to 2010) is just as ambitious. It also outlines the reduction of industrial overcapacity and a strengthening of the service sector.
The effects of China’s economic policies on the transport industry are shown by the government’s efforts to make railfreight operations along the Silk Road more attractive. Hans Reinhard, CEO of the InterRail Holding from the Swiss city of St Gallen, does not consider railfreight activities to be in competition with maritime transport, but sees them rather as a complementary element. For him rail transport options represent a reliable alternative to airfreight services when transporting goods by sea would simply take too long.
The matter of security as well as punctuality on the overland routes is also not a grave problem on the railways – quite the opposite, in fact. Reason enough for the industry to look more to growing railfreight connections to and from China in future.
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