I’ve read recently about the revival of the Silk Road as a rail freight route (e.g. see this fascinating DHL slide deck). It’s quicker than shipping, but cheaper than air. It seems to be a compromise well suited to high-value electronics, which have a relatively short shelf life and which tie up a lot of working capital while in transit.
I had read that HP does this for laptops. At first, when I saw the UPS tracking for my new MBP, I assumed Apple was now doing the same. How else to explain a stop off in Almaty of all places? But it’s too quick – this will be about 5 days end-to-end.