Rail container transit is the newest and indeed the fastest growing segment in the rail transportation market. In 2017, the amount of transit shipments posted a 60% increase compared to 2016, reaching a total of 413 thousand twenty-foot equivalent units. That said, there is plenty of room for further growth in this market: presently, some 95% of container shipments from Asia Pacific are delivered to Europe by sea, whereas rail transit is estimated to be, on average, 3 times faster, far more reliable and only twice as expensive as shipping containers by sea.

Today, consignors have access to up-to-date indicators of the delivery cost for containers by sea, hence the decision to put together the Eurasian Rail Alliance Index (ERAI). The ERAI will keep consignors updated on the current rail transit rates.

According to the conceptual design, the ERAI is a composite index of the cost of transit container shipments in the Eurasian rail corridor across the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union between China and the EU. The index value depends on an array of factors. These include the rates charged by Russian Railways, Kazakhstan Railways and Belorussian Railways, the cost of using fitting platforms, the cost of terminal services, speed and time in transit, the infrastructure load status, and others. As a follow-up to the index, a decision was made to introduce sub-indexes reflecting the cost of container shipments from West to East (ERAI U-East) and from East to West (ERAI U-West).

With these new features launched, consignors tracking the ERAI values on a regular basis will be well-equipped and fit to make informed shipping decisions as well as to calculate the delivery cost for container shipments between Asia and Europe.


  • A unified indicator of the industry’s condition for all of its participants
  • Indicator used when defining the contract price for transport and logistics services
  • Analytics instrument used for making decisions on freight delivery methods
  • Stock exchange instrument for signing forward contracts