Image: DHL Global

New China-Europe rail freight committee marks 29th city service

Image: DHL Global

A committee to coordinate the development of freight rail services between China and Europe has been set up in Beijing. The initiative is being led by the China Railway Corporation and comes as the southern hub of Shenzhen becomes the 29th Chinese city to launch a Europe-bound multimodal service.

Described by China Railway Corporation as an ‘enterprise-level coordination platform’, it says the aim of the committee is to stick to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to solve challenges in operating China-Europe freight rail services, reduce logistics costs and improve services.

Belt and Road

The Belarus-bound service marks the latest development of the ‘Belt and Road’ network, also known as One Belt, One Road, and is being operated by DHL Global Forwarding with both LCL and FCL services offered to customers. The 12-day journey covers new overland connections to major cities along the Belt and Road route, and is the latest in DHL’s Asia-Europe multimodal network. DHL is managing the route with manufacturer China Brilliant, and together they are transporting electronics, industrial and car parts and even fresh food between the two continents.

Steve Huang, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Greater China, said: “Eastern Europe’s economies are growing faster than almost any others worldwide, with significant export opportunities arising from the region’s rising wages and disposable income levels. Minsk offers Chinese businesses an efficient gateway into the Baltic states and Nordic countries, in addition to other major European destinations like Warsaw, Hamburg and Tilburg via Brest.”

Multimodal operators

The new service follows the Alashankou-Dostyk route, passing into Kazakhstan via the Central Corridor, before joining the Northern Corridor and travelling along the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia and onto Belarus. This is one of the most popular Europe-bound routes used by several other multimodal operators. DHL Global Forwarding’s service provides real-time GPS tracking and fully-managed customs clearance for the entire journey.

“With Shenzhen’s economy exceeding expectations to grow by nine per cent last year, the route also opens sizeable opportunities for European exporters looking to sell to one of China’s most vibrant trade and business hubs, or use it as an important gateway to Southeast Asia and the rest of the Chinese consumer market,” said Steve Huang.

Bilateral ties

“Our newest route further supports strategic infrastructure projects designed especially to support the Belt and Road, such as the Great Stone Industrial Park – the largest joint project between China and Belarus that will span decades, strengthens bilateral ties between the two countries, and also lays the groundwork for further rail connectivity to the Nordic and Middle Eastern states involved in the Belt and Road,” he added.

Zang Chunhua, Founder of the China Brilliant Group, said the growth in trade between China and Belarus showed ‘no signs of slowing down’ and the partnership with DHL would enable further streamlining of operations between the two countries: “The partnerships that DHL has with governments and businesses globally, coupled with our market strength in Shenzhen-based supply chains, have come together to create a solution that directly meets the needs of China’s expansion-hungry manufacturers and producers,” added Chunhua.

Through the various routes now available, China now operates freight rail services to and from 29 European cities, and more than 4,000 trips have been made since the first service was launched in March 2011. The figure is expected to rise to 5,000 by 2020.

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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