European Silk Road Studio

European Silk Road Summit 2020 – this is the live blog DAY II

European Silk Road Studio

Today is the second day of the European Silk Road Summit 2020. At 9.00 CET, this international conference kicks off, live from our studio in Rotterdam. This is an online event, covering two days: 10 and 11 November. This is the live blog, where we follow the event from minute to minute.

Registration for this event is always open and can be done here. The live blog of day I can be read here.

15:23: The European Silk Road Summit 2020 has officially reached its end! We would like to express our gratitude to all the participants and attendees. Hopefully, next year the summit will regain its physical form and we will be able to meet each other face-to-face. Until then, stay safe and keep up the good work! See you at the European Silk Road Summit 2021!

15:19: Do not forget that you can keep networking on our platform Brella untill tomorrow afternoon at 15:00.

15:18: “The summit is looking forward to attract a bigger Chinese audience in the future and include it in its presentations and discussions”.

15:15: Rob Vos: “Invest some time to gain more knowledge on the New Silk Road and unvail all its potentials”.

15:11:  Key note presentations are over! A wrap-up session is taking place right now!

15:10: Our trade with EU is very intensive already. We have to use effectively the agreement of 2015 that embraces 29 areas of cooperation and grow it even more”, concluded Bartyrbekova.

15:05: Bartyrbekova: “In general Kazakhstan trades with 95 countries around the world but Italy and China are its bigger partners”.

15:03 “Kazakhstan has acquired its position as a transit country in the New Silk Road”.

14:59: Coming up: Aigul Kuspan & Leila Bartyrbekova talking about the changing role of Kazakhstan on the New Silk Road.

14:55: Stahlhut praised Eastern Europe for the possibilities that it offers.

14:52: “There are so many doors for Europe to reach China through Italy”, comments Stahlut while discussing  connection possibilities.

14:47: Michail Stahlut is connected with our studio for a live Q&A session. He also received a Chinese name!

14:45: Stahlut:”New Silk Road challenge: Hupac linking core industrial areas”.

14:42: “What we are trying to do is provide intermodal services to the whole of Europe”, says Stahlut.

14:40: Next: Michail Stahlut, CEO of Hupac, will talk about Italy’s role in the New Silk Road.  

14:38: Koubek:”There is no problem with the border crossing from Russia to Ukraine. There are some political issues eastbound but they are being resolved. In terms of westbound transportation from China, Ukraine should be considered a totally reliable destination”.

14:30: “Ukraine should not be avoided!” Martin Koubek, from Metrans, takes the floor.

14:24: “The use of Ukrainian Railways will unload Belarussian infrastructure from the weight of rail traffic in the Brest/Malaszewicze border-crossing.” This is something to look up to!

14:20: “Our biggest achievement is the regular connections between China and Kiev”, says Murakhovsky.

14:18: According to the documentary the amount of container transportation via rail is growing fast in Ukraine.

14:17: Next up a short documentary about Ukraine and its function as a gateway to Central and Eastern Europe. The experts featured in the documentary are Timofey Murakhovsky, Martin Koubek, and Vladimir Huz.

14:13: Gilbert Bal is connected live with our studio in Rotterdam, getting his new Chinese name and participating to a Q&A session.

14:11: “Rotterdam can function as hub for Chinese cargo both maritime and overland”, he adds.

14:09: “We are located in the mouth of main rivers in Europe and that creates the ability for global connections. Rotterdam can be the gateway to and from Europe for cargo”, says Bal.

14:07: Future opportunities for the Port of Rotterdam:

14:05: An overview of port of Rotterdam operations prior to the pandemic:

14:00: We are live again! Welcome back to the final leg of the digital version of the European Silk Road Summit! On the first presentation of Session V, Gilbert Bal, from Port of Rotterdam, will discuss about the role that the port of Rotterdam has on the New Silk Road.

13:50: In ten minutes we are going live again with the final Session of the European Silk Road Summit 2020! Session V is going to focus on the route development across the New Silk Road.

12:00: We are wrapping up Session IV. Another networking brake will take place and we will continue with Session V at 14:00 sharp! Keep networking, stay connected, and stay tuned for the final leg of the European Silk Road Summit 2020. See you in a bit!

11:57:  “Rail is a very reliable mode even if it includes a sea leg”, says Grom with regards to the poll posted previously.

11:55: “We are not giving only the round trip prices to the Chinese platforms” says Hasenkampf, while replying to an audience question. However, the single journey is relatively high, so nobody books at this rate, explains Stein.

11:50: Dimitrij Hasenkampf, Alexey Grom and Marcel Stein are currently engaging in a very interesting discussion concernig the Kaliningrad route. Different perspectives on the topic provide a versatile point of view.

11:45: Alexey Grom: ” The Rostock Kaliningrad route will not remain an alternative, instead it will gain a central role”.

11:41: In the meantime another live poll is taking place:

11:40: Coming up next, a panel of stakeholders will discuss the keys behind Kaliningrad’s multimodal link success. 

11:39: Robert Komar is currently engaged in a live Q&A with the attendees of the summit.

11:35: Insights from the operational characteristics of Lithuanian rail terminals:

11:32: “Our aim is to reach the volumes of 70 million tones per year”, says Komar.

11:28: Live now: Robert Komar from Lithuanian Railways is discussing the role of Lithuania on the New Silk Road.

11:22: Live Q&A session with Kaspars Briskens!

“Gradually, in the future there will be a significant portion of west/east flows through Rail Baltica”.

11:20: Rail Baltica’s prerequisites:

11:18: “Rail Baltica is looking for an opportunity to work as an alternative in the wider Eurasian connectivity”, Briskens mentions.

11:14: Briskens: “The primary objective of Rail Baltica is to connect the three Baltic states with the rest of Europe and of course Asia. In the Future we could also expand in the Arctic corridor”.

11:10: Live now: Kaspars Briskens, Head of Strategy & Development at the Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail, discusses the greenfield opportunities in the Baltic States

11:09: Strahl: “Rostock has a hub function with very good land and sea connections. It is also a key point for the transportation of products in Northern Europe and specifiically Scandinavian countries”.

11:07: “Rostock’s connection with Kaliningrad was existing in advance but the service of the container project can lead to other projects in the future, we have adjusted the new service in the existing one” he adds.

11:04: “Together with our partners we have created an alternative in the Eurasian corridors that can help in facilitating traffic”, says Strahl.

11:00: And we are back live!

10:55: Session IV will kick off shortly! Götz Strahl, Head of Sales at Rostock Port, will take the floor to discuss about the port corridor between Rostock and Kaliningrad. Stay tuned!

10:37: At this point the first part of Day II of the European Silk Road summit is concluded. In the networking break that follows, participants have the chance to discover business opportunities and more! Stay tuned because at 11:00 Session IV begins with a focus on the Baltic Sea Corridor. See you in a bit!

10:35: Live Q&A with Miroslav Haltuf before the short coffee break!

“We need to digitalise all the custom documents” says Haltuf.

10:29: Haltuf: “The digital automatic coupler can bring forward new possibilities and technologies”.

10:27: “In the New Silk Road we need to secure operational rules that will be the same for everyone”, adds Haltuf.

10:25: “Difference in gauge and power supply are some of the problems that the rail sector faces in terms of interoperability”, says Haltuf.

10:22: Miroslav Haltuf, Vice chairman of the Shift2Rail SRG, will take the floor shortly to discuss the development of interoperable digital solutions on TEN-T and Silk Road from the EU perspective.

10:17: Shepherd: “There opportunities around the world in terms of infrastructure investments, but what risks are private investors asked to take before getting involved?”

10:15: Matthew Shepherd is connected live with our studio right now discussing insights of his presentation.

10:10: “How do we provide the mechanisms with which investments in infrastructure will be encouraged”? asks Shepherd. “How do you bring private finance in infrastructure schemes”?

10:06: Shepherd: “Global trade volumes have decreased due to Covid-19 but this is not the case for all modes of transport. The picture for rail has been remarkably positive”.

10:00: Coming up next, Matthew Shepherd, Principal at Oxera, will provide insights on how to involve private finance in enabling the New Silk Road.

09:57: Live Q&A session with Gerhard Troche!

“We are not part of any New Silk Road organisation, but we feel that the task of facilitating EU’s part in this transport chain is our responsibility” says Troche. He will also stay online in Brella for further questions from the participants.

09:54: Troche: “We will see important developments in the following years since everyone is working together to resolve problems such as insufficient infrastructure and limited capacities”.

09:48: “Different routes have different markets also.” Troche focuses in the broader picture of Asia not only China.

09:45: Providing the needed capacities and infrastructure to facilitate rail traffic is one of the main achievements of the European Rail Freight Corridors so far.

09:43: An overview of RFC ‘Amber’ from Troche’s presentation.

09:40: Question for our audience: Is the EU assertive enough on the New Silk Road?

09:36: Next, Gerhard Troche, Managing Director – EU Rail Freight Corridor ‘Amber’,  will now talk about the EU Rail Freight Corridors and their role in linking Europe to the Eurasian rail land bridges.

09:35: Young:”Implementing sustainable developments for block trains is the responsibility of both China and EU”.

09:34: Young also comments on the importance of developing reefer container transportation more.

09:30: “Europe is the key market that helps China deliver the modal shift from road to rail but there is still a lot of potential to grow”, adds Young. “There are areas that we can learn from each other and close cooperation is strongly recommended in this case”.

09:28: Young: “The departure of eastbound trains should be increased and remain stable”.

09:26: The balance between eastbound/westbound transportation constitutes the main objective of Young’s presentation.

09:24: Coming up, Jet Young, Counsellor for International Affairs at Eurasia Railway Commission of China Communication and Transportation Association, discusses the modal shift from road to rail in China. 

09:23: “China as a strategic partner but also a rival”, Europe does not have to be ‘shy’ when it comes to geopolitics, comments Marcich.

09:19: Marcich: “We have a lot of things to learn from the Chinese side but at the same time we need to have the full control of our policies”.

09:17: Our editor Majorie van Leijen with Maja Bakran Marcich in the office of the latest at Brussels!

09:12: Transparency in terms of investments in the BRI projects is the biggest challenge that we are facing at the moment, Marcich adds. “We also aim to make third countries more active”.

09:11: Marcich: “All investments have to be transparent and aim for sustainability in all levels”.

09:10: Another video of a field trip to meet the speakers of the European Silk Road Summit is on at the moment!

09:07: The outcome of Day 1 of the European Silk Road Summit has been quite intense and succesfull, let’s see what we have for today! Don’t forget that you have time to network until tomorrow noon at 13:00!

09:05: 205 meetings have already taken place on our networking platform Brella! Keep up the good work!

09:04: Our hosts in our studio in Rotterdam ready for the day!

09:03: Session III will kick off shortly. Our first key note speaker is Maja Bakran Marcich, Deputy Director-General DG MOVE, who will speak about the EU policy towards the BRI.

09:00: Ladies and gentlemen we are live! The second day of the European Silk Road Summit just started. Enjoy it!

08:55: On our digital platform Brella, networking never stops. Participants of the summit have the chance to arrange one-on-one meetings and discuss business possibilities. Do you want to be part of the network? You can still register here.

08:50: Good morning everyone! Day II of the European Silk Road Summit is about to begin! Stay tuned because at 09:00 we are going live with Session III talking about the corridor’s governance.

Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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