Panda-Sprinter connects port of Brake directly with Chongqing

Image: FurlogImage: Furlog

A new service has been tested for the shipment of wood pulp from the German port of Brake to the Chinese hub of Chongqing. The new line is the product of cooperation between DB Cargo and J. Müller, a port service provider specialising in handling forest products. The train, which carried 1,000 tonnes of pulp, left the German Port of Brake on 8 of last December and reached the Chinese city on Christmas.
This first trip of what is called the Panda Sprinter constituted a test session which will probably extend to more trains departing for China through the New Silk Road. As DB Cargo and J. Müller said, they are already looking forward to expanding their joint logistics concept and putting more products on the tracks, from diverse industries.

Port of Brake

The Port of Brake is positioned east of Hamburg and very close to the city of Bremen. Even though it is not among Germany’s biggest ports, its location is very beneficial, and it handles throughputs of more than a million tonnes per year. Additionally, it is the largest cellulose pulp import sites of the country, that simultaneously provides excellent rail connections with many European destinations. J. Müller is the terminal operator of the port and thus experienced in the transportation of forest products.

In Chongqing, the demand for wood pulp is high. The city’s location around 2,000 kilometres away from coasts and ports makes it challenging to acquire quick access in sea transport. The only gateway to the supply of goods by barge is through the Yangtze, the world’s busiest river.

Chongqing’s position in the map of China

Under normal conditions, transportation in the Yangtze takes at least fourteen days without considering waiting times caused by congestions. Consequently, pulp products take several weeks until transported to Chongqing-let apart other issues such as reloading cargo on trucks when water levels are too high or low, which is also costly With this new direct train service and the notably faster transit times, deliveries will reach their destination quicker, more safely, and more environmentally friendly.

Wood in China

The demand for wood from Europe is booming in all of China. Only in the first 3 quarters of 2019, 15 million m3 of wood logs were exported from Europe to China, a 450 per cent year-on-year rise. As a region, Europe is now the second largest supplier of wood logs to China after New Zealand. In the past, most of the volumes from Europe were exported by sea via multiple ports. But since last year, much of the volumes are being moved to rail.

The tree farms producing the wood logs are situated in Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. Per month, an estimated 15 trains with 41 of 40ft HQ containers each depart in the eastern direction, carrying around 1200 TEUs in total.

Author: Nikos Papatolios

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

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