What cargos can be transported by rail from China?

Update date:
01 Dec 2023
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Date of publication:
21 Oct 2023
Reading time: 6 minutes

Have you ever wondered what goods can be transported by rail from China? In an era of globalisation and increasing trade, rail transport has become one of the key elements of the supply chain. In this article, we will take a closer look at what cargoes can be transported by this method from the Middle Kingdom. We will start by discussing what goods can be transported by rail from China. There will also be information on the transport of electronic and technological products, which are one of China's main exports. Later in the article, we will look at the transport of consumer goods and household goods, which are an integral part of our daily lives. The aim of this article is to dispel any doubts and answer any questions you may have about rail transport from China. We hope this will provide you with the knowledge to better understand this important aspect of global trade.

1. What goods can be transported by rail from China? 

Rail transport from China is characterised by restrictions when it comes to transporting goods. For the most part, products are transported by rail that are described as NON-HAZ or, in simple terms, safe. Such products include goods that do not contain batteries, liquids, are not explosive and do not contain other harmful substances. 

--> 🔋 Batteries

However, in some cases, if, for example, the batteries are built into the product, it is possible to transport such goods by rail. We are talking, for example, about products with a battery that is placed inside a device. In such cases, however, the transport may be more expensive than standard non-hazardous goods and the transport time may be extended due to the fact that the cargo will be transported via another railway terminal in China that accepts this type of goods. 

--> 💧 Fluids

Also some goods containing liquids can be transported by rail from China. However, it all depends on the individual characteristics of the product in question. It is always advisable to ask the forwarding company whether the transport of a given product will be possible, as there are situations on the market when one forwarding company will not be able to transport a given commodity, while another will accept a given commodity. It is always advisable to ask directly at the source. 

Rail transport of containers from China
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2. what can be done to check whether a particular good can be transported by rail from China? 

If the product does not contain batteries or liquids and falls into the category of NON-HAZ, i.e. non-hazardous goods, transport by rail will be possible in most cases.

Problems may arise when goods are classified as HAZ or dangerous goods, in which case you should always ask the manufacturer of the goods in question for a Material Safety Data Sheet, or MSDS, and send this document to the shipping company carrying out the transport for you. You will then receive 100 % confirmation that the goods can be accepted for rail transport. 

This is an extremely important consideration in supply chain planning. For example, if we are preparing to order a delivery of goods to meet a specific time of the year then information on whether the goods will be accepted for rail transport is extremely important as rail transport times will range from 11 to 25 days, while sea transport, which will be a necessity in the case of dangerous goods, will take from 36 to even 50 days, in specific cases. 

3. Types of goods transported by rail from China

Rail transport from China is an extremely efficient way of transporting various types of goods. Electronics, lighting, tools, toys, furniture, industrial machinery,  - are just some of the products that regularly arrive from the Middle Kingdom. Thanks to the extensive rail network, it is possible to deliver virtually any type of cargo in a safe and efficient manner. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that each type of cargo requires appropriate security and transport conditions. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult an expert in this field.

Tip: When preparing cargo for transport, it is worth paying attention to the proper securing of the goods, as well as meeting all customs and regulatory requirements.

4. transporting electronic and technological products from China

China is a global leader in manufacturing electronic and technological productsand rail is one of the most popular means of transporting these goods. Electronicssuch as televisions, computers, mobile phones as well as high techsuch as drones, robots and medical equipment are often transported by rail from China. Below is a comparison table showing the different types of electronic and technological products that are most often transported by rail from China.

Product typeExample productAverage volume transported by rail per year
Consumer electronicsTelevisions, computers, mobile phones2 million tonnes
Advanced technologiesDrones, robots, medical equipment1 million tonnes

Rail transport from China is not only cost-effective, but also fast and reliable. Thanks to the extensive rail network, electronic and technological products can be delivered to different parts of the world in a short time. Security is also a key factor that makes rail transport the ideal choice for these fragile and expensive products. However, it is worth remembering that goods transported by rail from China are worth insuring. Read more about insurance in our other article. 

5. carriage of consumer goods and household goods from China

Analysing data from recent years, a significant increase in the transport of consumer goods and household goods from China is noticeable. Electronics, furniture, white and brown goods, clothing and toys are just some of the products that are most frequently imported from the Middle Kingdom. Below is a comparative table that shows the differences in the volume of goods transported over the past five years.

YearElectronicsFurnitureDomestic appliances and consumer electronicsClothingToys
201620%15%25%30%10%
201722%17%27%32%12%
201824%19%29%34%14%
201926%21%31%36%16%
202028%23%33%38%18%

It is clear that all product categories recorded growth. This is proof that rail transport from China is an extremely efficient and popular means of transporting consumer goods and household items.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the costs of rail transport from China?

Rail transport costs from China can vary depending on the type of goods, their weight, dimensions and distance. It is best to contact the carrier or shipping company directly for accurate information.


Is rail transport from China safe for fragile goods?

Yes, rail transport is considered safe for various types of goods, including fragile goods. All goods are properly secured and packed to ensure their safety during transport. If the cargo is fragile, it is advisable to arrange with the shipping company for other light goods to be placed on the goods, or for the goods to be completely unstacked and no other goods to be stacked on top of them. 


Can I track my shipment transported by rail from China?

Yes, some forwarding companies offer this option. It is advisable to enquire about this information directly with the company from which you are ordering transport. 


Are there any restrictions on the size or weight of goods transported by rail from China?

Yes, there are certain restrictions on the size and weight of goods that can be transported by rail. These restrictions may vary from one carrier to another, so it is always worth consulting the shipping company before planning your transport. It is worth taking into account, the dimensions of the container, which are a restriction on the size of goods that can be transported by rail. In rail transport from China, virtually the only container possible is 40 HC. 

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