Duisport. Photo: Amelie Erxleben

Duisburg sees record figures from China in April

Duisport. Photo: Amelie Erxleben

Duisburg has reported record figures of rail-based merchandise traffic with China in April. Last month, the inland port of Duisport registered an increase to approximately 50 trains a week. Normally, between 35 and 40 trains travel between Duisburg and various destinations in China every week.

Rail freight traffic between the German hub and China had declined in February and March due to the coronavirus outbreak in China. But since the lockdown was lifted in some provinces, China’s economy has quickly started up again. This caused a revival of rail freight traffic.

Cath-up effect

“We are definitely noticing the catch-up effects resulting from the pandemic in the China business. But at the same time we have continued to work intensively on our network and in April we extended our train services to include further Chinese destinations”, says duisport Chief Executive Officer Erich Staake.

“It is particularly in our crisis situation that rail freight becomes an important alternative to ocean freight,” says duisport Chief Executive Officer Erich Staake.

Duisport says to be well prepared for the increase in rail freight volumes from China. “We are also holding available additional storage space and customised solutions for onward transport. Thanks to our committed staff, our network also functions in times of crisis”, says Erich Staake. “I have to compliment my team: our operations are running at 100 per cent despite the corona crisis.


The Port of Duisburg is considered a pioneer for rail freight between Europe and Asia. The first regular train from the Chinese mega city Chongqing to Duisburg started in 2011. In 2014, the Yuxinou train became the first direct permanent rail connection between Germany and China.

Since then, the number of freight trains traveling regularly between the People’s Republic and Duisburg has steadily increased. Today, 30 per cent of all rail-based trade between Europe and China runs through the Duisburg logistics hub. And of the 1,400 trains out of Chongqing that are destined for Europe, around 80 per cent were handled in the Port of Duisburg last year, a number that continues to increase.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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