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2018-05-29 14:09


【 liuxue86.com - 托福阅读 】




  Freight gain

  New rail routes between China and Europe will change trade patterns




  ASTANA in Kazakhstan is one of the world’s most remote capitals, surrounded by thousands of kilometres of empty steppe. This summer Astana attempted to launch itself onto the global stage by hosting the World Expo, which closed on September 10th and underwhelmed many attendees. But there are other ways to have an impact. On the city’s north side, away from the Expo’s exhibits, a series of diesel trains, each pulling dozens of containers, roll through the old railway station. Most are heading from China to Europe. Last year over 500,000 tonnes of freight went by train between the two, up from next to nothing before 2013. Airlines and shipping firms are watching things closely. 哈萨克斯坦的阿斯塔纳(Astana)是世界上最偏僻的首都之一,周围是绵延数千公里的空旷大草原。今年夏天,阿斯塔纳主办了世博会,试图借此登上国际舞台。世博会于9月10日闭幕,并未给许多参会者留下深刻印象。不过,要想产生影响还有别的办法。在远离世博会会址的阿斯塔纳北部,一列列装运着几十个集装箱的柴油机车驶过老火车站,大多是从中国开往欧洲的。去年,中欧之间有超过50万吨货物经铁路往来,而2013年之前还寥寥无几。航空公司和船运公司正在密切关注这一发展趋势。

  The trains rumbling through Astana result from a Chinese initiative, in tandem with countries like Kazakhstan, to build a “New Silk Road” through Central Asia. The earlier overland routes were once the conduits for most trade between Europe and China and India; they faded into irrelevance when European ships started circumnavigating the Cape of Good Hope.中国提出与哈萨克斯坦等国家一起打造一条贯穿中亚的“新丝绸之路”,这些隆隆驶过阿斯塔纳的货运列车正是这一倡议的产物。古丝绸之路曾是欧洲与中国及印度之间大多数贸易往来的通道。当欧洲船只开始绕行好望角之后,这一陆上贸易通道就渐渐衰落了。

  China has long wanted to develop its inland regions and push industry to “go west”, in order to spread economic growth more evenly. Manufacturers have been loth to shift, in part because of the higher cost of moving goods to ports for export. Developing a rail-freight network to Europe—an important part of China’s “One Belt One Road” policy—opens up a new route to market for its poorest areas. The land route through Central Asia is relatively short. A container ship too large for the Suez canal must make a 24,000km journey to reach Europe. Trains travel no more than 11,000km to reach the same destination.长期以来中国一直希望发展内陆地区,推动产业“走向西部”,促进更均衡的经济发展。制造商一直不愿转移,部分原因是这样会拉高将货物运往出口港口的成本。发展一个通往欧洲的铁路货运网络是中国“一带一路”政策的重要组成部分,为中国最贫困地区开辟了一条通往市场的新路线。通过中亚到达欧洲的陆路通道相对较短。无法通过苏伊士运河的大型集装箱船必须航行2.4万公里才能到达欧洲,走铁路的话全程不超过1.1万公里。

  Kazakhstan has spent over 1.1trn tenge ($3.2bn) on upgrading its railway lines and rolling stock since 2011. That includes $250m on the Khorgos Gateway, a dry port at the border with China that lifts containers from Chinese trains onto Kazakh ones to overcome a change in track width (a problem that has stymied previousefforts to build railway routes between Europe and China).自2011年以来,哈萨克斯坦已经为升级铁路线路和铁路机车投入超过1.1万亿坚戈(32亿美元),其中包括投向中哈边界的无水港霍尔果斯口岸的2.5亿美元。由于中哈铁路轨距不同(这一差异阻碍了过去在中欧之间修建铁路线的努力),中国列车上的集装箱要在此换装到哈萨克斯坦的列车上。

  Volumes of freight travelling between China and Europe by rail are rising quickly. Between 2013 and 2016 cargo traffic quintupled in weight. In the first half of this year the value of goods travelling by train rose by 144% compared with the same period in 2016. Western firms have been keen to embrace rail freight because it helps them to lower costs, says Ronald Kleijwegt, an expert on the industry. In the case of high-tech electronics, for example, which consumers like to receive quickly, making them on China’s coast and air-freighting them to Europe is extremely pricey. 中欧之间的铁路货运量正在快速上升。2013年至2016年间,货运重量增长了四倍。今年上半年,经铁路运输的商品价值相比2016年同期增长了144%。铁路货运行业专家罗纳德·克莱伊韦格特(Ronald Kleijwegt)说,西方企业十分欢迎中欧铁路货运的发展,因为这有助它们降低成本。以高科技电子行业为例,高科技电子产品的消费者希望能快速收到货物,而在中国沿海地区制造这些产品再空运至欧洲的成本极高。

  How worried should shipping firms and airlines be? Kazakhstan’s national rail company, KTZ, says it will have capacity for 1.7m containers to pass through the country between Europe and China each year by 2020; that is a tenth of the volume currently carried by sea and air between the two. In the longer term, a full modernisation of the existing main three rail routes from China to Europe could produce 3m containers a year in capacity. 航运和航空公司对此该多担心呢?哈萨克斯坦国家铁路公司(KTZ)表示,到2020年,它在经由哈萨克斯坦往返中欧的线路上将拥有每年170万个集装箱的运力,是目前两地间海运和空运年运输量的十分之一。而在更长久的时间里,中欧之间现有三条主要铁路线的全面现代化将带来每年300万个集装箱的运力。

  But there are reasons to doubt that will happen. For one thing, China plans to stop handing out government subsidies for additional rail-freight capacity from 2020, which will slow the network’s expansion. Sea freight has little to fear in the near term, says Soren Skou, chief executive of Maersk, the world’s biggest container-shipping line. Trains may take away some future growth from ships, he concedes, but not their existing business.但有理由对此前景表示怀疑。一方面,中国计划从2020年起停止向新增铁路运力提供政府补贴,这将让铁路运输网络扩张的速度放慢。全球最大的集装箱航运公司马士基(Maersk)的首席执行官施索仁(Soren Skou)说,短期内海运业没什么可担心的。他承认,火车可能会抢走船舶的一部分未来增量业务,但其现有业务不会被抢夺。

  Air cargo is more vulnerable. Last year, 180,000 tonnes of cargo travelled on trains to western Europe from China (the remainder was destined for Russia and eastern Europe). That is a small fraction of the 52m tonnes that came by sea, but a big chunk of the 700,000 tonnes that came by air. Much of that air cargo could switch to rail in future, says Mr Kleijwegt, with one important proviso—that Russia would need to lift the retaliatory sanctions it placed in 2014 on imports of Western food, which stop most foodstuffs from travelling by land between Europe and China. That is unlikely for the time being. But it was only a decade ago that people thought the idea of freight trains between Europe and China was a joke, says Mr Kleijwegt—and no one laughs at that any more.空运更易受影响。去年,18万吨货物从中国经铁路运往西欧(其余运往俄罗斯和东欧),这在经海路运抵的5200万吨中只是个零头,但在经空运抵达的70万吨中却是很大一块。克莱伊韦格特说,未来大部分空运货物都可能转而走铁路,不过一个重要的前提条件是,俄罗斯需解除从2014年起对西方进口食品施行的报复性制裁措施,这一措施阻碍了中欧之间大多数食品的陆路运输。目前看来制裁不大可能取消。不过克莱伊韦格特说,仅仅十年前,中欧之间开通货运列车还被看作一个笑话,而如今再也没人取笑了。






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