Catlin Syndicate Leads Coverage for Europe/China Rail Cargo Link

May 2, 2008

The Catlin Syndicate, the largest syndicate at Lloyd’s of London in terms of premium capacity, is leading the cargo insurance coverage for goods transported by an innovative new rail container service linking Europe with China.

The Company’s bulletin noted that the “first trains operating on the Far East Land Bridge (FELB) left Harbin in northeast China and for Zabaykalsk in southern Siberia on 29 April. When fully operational later this year, FELB will provide container transport via rail for the first time between Central European countries such as Germany, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic and cities in northeast China, including Beijing and Harbin.

“The development of FELB will cut in half the time it now takes to ship goods between European cities and the Far East. Sea-based container shipments between Vienna and Beijing currently take up to 36 days, not including time lost to port delays and co-ordination with feeder vessel schedules. In comparison, a rail shipment via FELB will take as little as 15 to 18 days to complete.

“FELB, which utilizes the Trans-Siberian railway for much of its route, has secured special customs and tariff arrangements to allow ‘block trains’ to move in both directions non-stop. Containers will be monitored at least twice a day at 37 checkpoints along the route. Containers will be transferred between the Russian broad gauge rail system and the standard gauge used in China and Europe at designated crossing points on the Ukraine/EU and China/Russia borders.”

Catlin’s Lloyd’s Syndicate is the leading underwriter for cargo insurance covering all risks of physical damage for goods shipped via the FELB. The coverage is brokered by Ramon International Insurance Brokers Limited, a Lloyd’s broker specializing in all forms of marine, non-marine and aviation insurance and reinsurance.

Howard Franks, Deputy Marine Business Group Leader for the Catlin Syndicate, described the FELB as “an exciting development in container transport and offers an attractive alternative to traditional sea routes. Over time, FELB should become one of the most important methods of shipping goods between Europe and China.”

Source: Catlin –

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