European Silk Road Summit: this is the live blog

Day two of the European Silk Road Summit kick off! From 09.30 CET and you can follow this two-day industry event via this live blog. Do you want to follow the summit realtime? That is also possible, online tickets are still available.

The European Silk Road Summit is a two-day event about the Eurasian corridor. This year is the 5th edition, taking place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Tickets for physical attendance are sold out, but you can still get your online ticket here. The phase out of subsidies, container rates, congestion, Russian transit and new destinations are among the topics. Check out the programme here

DAY TWO STARTS HERE – Live blog updated as it goes (most recent at the top)

We’re wrapping up the live blog right here – but it’s far from the end of the Summit.

That’s the morning session, but not the end of the morning. We’re off for a coffee break – before the big business of the morning Workshops begin. Delegates can choose any two from six (yes, six) workshops.

We call this the flagship of this year’s European Silk Road Summit. It’s the big knowledge exchange opportunity. With four dedicated workshops, we bring our audience in touch with industry experts who have the know-how on specific but most of the times tricky and complicated issues. You can choose to participate in one of the following workshops:

  • Which TOS is right for my terminal
  • Special containers
  • How to avoid sanctions in Iran?
  • How to use 5g technology in a terminal

First through – it’s coffee time!

Irina doing a great job, fielding questions in the room and on line. Lots of interest in building up overland connections between Europe and Russia. The Silk Road is not just about Western Europe to China – there are many intermediate routes that can be exploited.  Just consider how big the market can be, between Europe and Russia alone.

Irina – the power of connections to improve lives. She says Smart Container can access 300 million people in remote area, and help with economic improvement, social inclusion and environmentally sustainable development. Isn’t that exactly what the railways are all about.

“At the moment, goods between the Netherlands and Russia are mainly transported by sea freight and sometimes also by truck. But a direct train connection should provide even better service to the Russian and Eurasian region with some 300 million consumers. And vice versa of course. The shuttle Rotterdam – Moscow is also a tool for developing sustainable mobility and ecological multimodal transportation between Western Europe and Eurasian countries.”
Like it says: All about Smart Container

10.30 CET Right on time. taking the stage, Rotterdam based IRINA BIRMAN, the Commercial Director of Smart Container, specialising in the sustainable mobility of multimodal container transport., based on the railway corridor between Western Europe and Eurasian countries. I think we’ll call that Silk Road for convenience 😉

10.25 CET Did we see the expected increase in traffic from Korea and Japan? It was a hot topic of discussion at the last Summit (who was there in Venlo in 2019).

10.20 CET The Russia Route is here to stay – say the panel – but so are the issues over sanctioned goods and designated ‘dangerous cargo”. Oh, and there is the short-lived issue fo Russian subsidies. Don’t listen to me, check out the poll of physical delegates and online participants who say “They were good, but we want less government intervention on the route”. The poll is open to all delegates – so don’t try to dial the number if you are not registered 😉


Apparently eight per cent of our audience, when asked eh question “What do you know about far eastern ports in Russia?” said “We should be on the panel”. Clever audience 😉

1005 CET moving into the ambitious panel discussion with several outside contributors and live guests in the hall – participating remotely are OLGA STEPHANOVA (NURMINEN – who’s coping well with building work in her headquarters!), ALEKSEI KRAVCHENKO (FESCO), ALEXANDER HAU (MAERSK), and in person in Amsterdam ALEXANDER MIRONOW (TRANSCONTAINER)

Our Russia panel in person and remote – our audience are there, socially distanced and just a bit shy of the front row!
The Far East ports of Russia, most notably Vladivostok, have gained popularity on the New Silk Road. For traffic to and from Japan and Korea, but also for traffic to China, that cannot be transported overland. In this panel, we discuss the potential and challenges of these ports.

and starting with

Yulia addresses crucial topics – including security ons actioned goods – and the security of passage. It is an issue of overland transport that will not go away, so logistics companies have to address the challenge. Yulia is confident the challenges can be overcome and that much more volume will result, particularly with the eastern ports such s Vladivostok.

Yulia’s company RZDL, is one of the leading companies on Russian forwarding services market. The company was established in 2010

Growth in Russian intermodal transit across Silk Road routes

0955 CET Here’s our first speaker of the day. Yulia Kosolapova is the Managing Director of RZDL Europe – with an in depth analysis of traffic volumes on transit through Russia. She has the very latest figures from 2021 so far.

Yulia Kosolapova is the Managing Director of RZDL Europe

They’re on the rise (so yesterday’s belief that Russia is just a back up to the Silk Road called into question right away). 

Although the share is still minor, it is slowly increasing, thanks to transhipment hubs such as Kaliningrad and the port of Vladivostok.

0950 CET Setting the agenda: where its the transparency of use on the Silk Road – where can I go to get definitive information – that’s a top concern for would-be customers.

0950 Possibly the biggest QR Code in the world … ever

0940 CET: Let’s get down to work: Russia is the topic of the morning. Later, for delegates, there are a whole series of workshops, where you can get involved in the topics that matter with the people who can make a difference. This is a big benefit of attendance at the Summit.

Review of day one topics: Transit time was the big thing when Silk Road took off – now it’s more about speeding up the process and solving bottlenecks – main message “we should concentrate on the quality not the quantity – developments and improvements in the pipeline – “It was great to actually meet in person and discuss real topics in real time” – “Europe can work more together to make a success for everyone on the Silk Road” – “less paperwork, more work on the rails”

0930 CET Welcome to Day Two of the European Silk Road Summit – We are just a few minutes away from Session IV – The role of Russia on the New Silk Road. – Majorie and Arie on stage welcoming … well, where is everybody! You were all up late … discussing the matters of yesterday … probably. (Hey, maybe the bus was late..).

We are just a few minutes away from Session IV – The role of Russia on the New Silk Road

Russia has been an important transit country of the New Silk Road since its early establishment. Crucial routes cross the country, which itself accounts for significant cargo volumes. However, lately, there has been a shift of power observed. Russia is investing more and more in the New Silk Road, with its Far East ports becoming of great importance. What is Russia’s emerging role?

0915 CET / 0815 GMT / 1615 Beijing and Singapore / 0315 Washington –  just 15 Minutes away from today’s proceedings


Starts at 12.30 CET (Amsterdam) / 11.30 GMT (London) / 19.30 Beijing-Singapore / 06.30 Washington

T-MINUS One Hour. You’ve missed brunch in Amsterdam – but that’s OK. We are just one hour away from the start of European Silk Road Summit, and there is still neigh time to join in online. Don’t worry if you’ve never used our networking stream before – there’s an ‘on boarding’ video hosted by Majorie and Arie (in English) available as soon as you sign up.  You can get your online ticket here.

T-MINUS FiFTY Minutes. Organising team is ready in Amsterdam. Everyone is fully-fuelled (after the networking brunch at Kanteen 25 right in central Amsterdam.

Even if you’re enjoying European Silk Road Summit at home – treat yourself

T-Minus thirty minutes. Thanks you to Majorie who is now handing over the LIVE Blog to Simon Walton.

Simon Walton: Waiting for the European Silk Road Summit to begin

The European Silk Road Summit is a two-day event about the Eurasian corridor. This year is the 5th edition, taking place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Tickets for physical attendance are sold out, but you can still get your online ticket here. The phase out of subsidies, container rates, congestion, Russian transit and new destinations are among the topics. Check out the programme here.

Starts at 12.30 CET (Amsterdam) / 11.30 GMT (London) / 19.30 Beijing-Singapore / 06.30 Washington

Live blog here – just refresh this feed to catch the latest. We are just half an hour away from lift-off.

Just twenty minutes away from Setting the scene – updates and the future of the New Silk Road with Onno De Jong, Senior Consultant Transport, Infrastructure & Mobility, Ecorys. Last time out Onno was a devil with the ‘bouncy microphone’ thrown at random into the audience. Watch out – it could be your turn when you least expect it.

T-MINUS Five minutes. Right here. Almost right now. Hello from Amsterdam.


Tip off from the networking session: Expecting big news this morning from the Far East…


Five years ago (well, six actually) we were exclusively a Dutch event, now we are a global conference – live, in person, and live on line too.

Majorie and Arie testing their geographical knowledge with a global graphic of all the participants home countries. Scotland and Kyrgyzstan anyone?

1235 CET Onno de Jong  with the terrible news that … Amsterdam bars close at 1700! Hey – Covid-measures have not stoped the European Silk Road Summit.

Onno discussing the main topics to watch for during this conference – and starting with port congestion in North America – something we’ve discussed on More importantly, how did the world change since the last year’s summit?  Rail has proved its worth. What options can rail offer in these times of supply chains under pressure? Where comes Russia into play? And as a reminder of the geopolitical nature of the New Silk Road Project: how might rising rivalry between the world powers affect the future of the project and in the end your business?

Onno de Jong is a Silk Road Summit veteran, and has a brilliant understanding and insight on Eurasian overland trade. He ‘s Senior Consultant Transport, Infrastructure & Mobility, Ecorys

Onno de Jong keynote speaker launched debate at European Silk Road Summit 2021

1150; No massive drop in container rates for 2022. Onno says expect six percent drop, that;’s all – and that’s on the back of already record high spot rates.

Expect the establish maritime players to be developing their own door-to-door platforms, and expect competition from new players. Might we see an Amazon ship linking with an Amazon train?

European reaction to Belt and Road Initiative – can that mean a big new role for rail freight. European Global Gateway Initiative – you’ll hear more about that over the next two days and in future for sure.

1200 Joining us live from Switzerland, David Alona Head of Shuttle Net North-East Europe and Vice President Landbridge China, Hupac – on the New Silk Road  the European challenge.  And David has been taking presentation lessons from Britain’s most famous doctor “Next slide please”.

More important though – the content of his slides: does China want more hubs and less domestic routes and connections? What does that mean for European markets? Can we make better use of scheduling asks David – coming back to the problem of dispatching less-than-full trains and border congestion.
Don’t forget – you can check out the programme for the Summit: European Silk Road Summit
David Alona of Huopac warns that China and Europe need to cooperate and coordinate more effectively to resolve supply chain issues
David analysing the supply chain issue and how to solve the container crunch. Taking questions from the audience – including online interactive participants.
1210 Welcome to the team leaders Jialu Zhang and Huilin Shi, Polling the audience about key words on Silk Road trade – and congestion comes up big – but so does “sky high rates”
Huilin on the left and Jialu in the audience polling audience sentiment on the issues affecting Silk Road trade.
Many audience members recognise the hard work on the ground from fellow professionals all along the Silk Road. Good to know that real people matter, not just geopolitical agendas.
No surprise that subsidies come up in conversation – very strongly.
BREAKING NEWS: Chinese Silk Road subsidies to continue in 2023 but in a locally funded model, and will be phased out eventually. Contacts participating from China reveal policy decision that significantly impacts trade. “The subsides play a vital role in Eurasian trade” . However European voices say subsidies only support Chinese exporters. Discussion proving insightful. The word from China is that smaller players who rely on subsidy for their business model will be forced out of the market. There’s confidence in China that trade will survive, after the subsidies have gone. The future will be quality not quantity led.
Huilin Shi and Jialu Zhang – the team leaders on our Mandarin-language service, led an intercontinental discussion with contributions from China and around the world.
Is Russia challenging China’s position on the Silk Road?  More options mean more libation in the market. The Russian route is something of a back up plan, say Chinese industrialists. Right now, there’ is serious congestion via Russia – but Russian subsidy support is actually a benefit to trade, despite other challenges. They welcome the extra capacity over all.
Russian delegate not surprisingly defends the Russian route 😉
Chinese contributors (via video link from Xi’an) “Factory relocation from China to Southeast Asia may mean more traffic from that region” Could that mean Eurasian Corridor swimming southwards? It’s been an interesting session and much to discuss later.
1245 Norwegian market. It’s far more important than you think – well, maybe this audience already knows that, but Ole Hagen is making a passionate pitch for his home country. For the Silk Road – what is the potential for the Nordics and
Ole Hagen is a passionate speaker
Ole has plenty of credentials. He’s Business and Policy Director, NHO (Norwegian Confederation of Enterprises and Business) – Freight Forwarders and Logistics Association.
Ole’s 35 slides in ten minutes!
Plenty to get through Ole focusing on the potential for new and improved logistics solution for Nordic/Scandinavian countries and markets, including new rail and short sea offering. However, there is a potential for building logistics solution for exports as well, not only to Russia/China/Japan but also South East Asia and India.
He’s really getting through a big agenda – supported by plenty of graphic content. He’s well aware fo the benefits for Rail Baltica and what that means for Norwegian international trade. “Reestablishing relations between EU, America and China is vital” he says.
Plenty questions from the physical and online audiences – including hot topics such s gauge changes and fish exports!
Hungary next. You’ll know that visited recently the construction of East-West Gate terminal: – a new gateway on the New Silk Road. Joining the Summit is ÁDÁM TÁLOSI – Member of the Board, East-West Intermodal Logistics, who is pretty much overseeing every sleeper laid on the project.
The Hungarian East West Gate at the border with Ukraine has the potential to become the largest European terminal. With its strategic location, it will tap into the flow of Eurasian traffic. It is equipped with 5G technology and other modern facilities, and places Hungary back on the map. We don’t actually think it was ever off the map  but that’s another question.
It sounds like the Ottoman Empire on rails! It certainly looks just as grand as anything imperial. Holistic approach – it’s all about integrated support services on site.
Questions about the supporting infrastructure and the ability of the neighbour – Ukraine.
Where would you like to see a new Silk Road connection?Online and inhouse polling produces answers from Scotland to southern Spain.
1400 CET ROLAND VERBRAAK taking the stage to discuss “Destination based upon demand and developments in the market” Roland is the General Manager, GVT Intermodal.
Wow – he says one customer paid 20000 dollars for a trans-Asian container – that sounds like a new record to us.
Roland focuses on the fact that the routes will be determined based upon two facts: the requirements of the clients as well as new developments, such as new high speed wagons, Power packs, the transport of lithium battery’s and the best border crossing.
It’s not just cargo manifests – Roland has been studying the world atlas and lectures on the development of trade around existing routes – route-led development. How can that be manipulated as a bonus for developed hubs?
A big bonus would be cooperation over sealed cargoes – crossing land borders without administrative delays “no paperwork anymore and smooth transition at the borders”
1420 CET New routes and destinations – it’s the last panel discussion before the break. Wolfgang Rupf of RTSB – an operator along the eurasian corridor joins from Germany. In Amsterdam in person Chris Wensnk of research consultancy PANTEIA, and the ROAD2HOLLAND project. Moderator Majorie van Leijen.
Chris reiterates the future  wil be quality cargo, not quantity led. What does that mean for operators on the Silk Road – that’s a question that’s been raised a few times already in this first session. Martin Koubek from Metrans, the logistics concern, is the final panel member to get an opportunity to put his case. “New destinations do not necessarily clear the issue of border congestion. Maybe we need to find new routes.”
Majorie: “announcing new routes that don’t happen because the demand isn’t there.” That’s an issue we’ve encountered before. Maybe that’s something Road2Holland is addressing in the Netherlands, but what about elsewhere? “To be a reliable partner snowballs into something else”, says Chris Wensnk.
Dream destinations – not for vacations – but for Silk Road. The panel say … south Germany…
Is this conning year the year of new designations or new quality cargo. Well, that’s going to be the topic of discussion during the break. Certainly the audience is in agreement and eager to explore the topic more.
It’s been a different session, but it’s been very successful. Hey, no one likes the Covid restrictions, but the fact that this audience has come together (not too close together) proves there is still an appetite for genuine discussion, face to face.
Whether you are in the room, or in your own room – time for a coffee, a break and we’ll see you in thirty. We’re back at 15:15 CET (Amsterdam); 14:15 GMT (London); 22:15 Beijing and Singapore; 09:15 Washington.
It’s the closing session of the first day.
We have a top table populated by some of the top boardroom table CEOs from around Europe.
CEO Panel
With us live and online are …
The CEO Panel
In this panel, CEO’s of companies that play an important role on the New Silk Road discuss the latest developments in Eurasian transport.
Just for a little lightness, we’re drawing topics from the hat, just like the Champions League – except the draw isn’t fixed (not that we’re suggesting anything like that goes on at EUFA)
Our first topic: “The congestion on the Silk Road Corridors is so bad, it shows top the corridor as a victim of its own success”. Well, there’s a topic hot enough to burn through the hat..
Alexay From at UTLO – joining online talked much about the environmental benefits of rail – which we all agree with of course.
Tabea Klang making her first public appearance as CEO of DB Cargo Eurasia, live at European Silk Road Summit in Amsterdam
Tabea Klang – who is in only her fifth day at CEO of DB Cargo Eurasia – took the hat and drew out the statement to discuss “The New Silk Road cannot do without the short seas routes”. She picked up on the environmental aspects, and asked how do we pick up our trade along the Silk Road, even more emphasising the environmental aspects
OLLI POHJANVIRTA (NURMINEN LOGISTICS), caught in a moment when he didn’t have his eyes on the camera – he’s not sleeping, and ALEXEY GROM (UTLC) apparently listening more attentively. The camera never lies, but in this case – it didn’t quite catch the truth
Hardly needing an introduction to this audience, OLLI POHJANVIRTA (NURMINEN LOGISTICS) joined online. Olly in Finland was presented with the statement  “container rates maybe sky high but that does not undermine the viability of rail freight. Olly absolutely agreed . The transparence and security on rail – notably the reliability and punctuality gave rail many benefits for clients. Price is one issue but the client gets what the clients asks for with rail. Price is not laws the most important aspect of logistics he argued.
The floor was eager to get involved and asked the question – will Europe follow the Chinese model of a limited number of hubs (five) in order to avoid duplication of routes. Not surprisingly, the panel were not falling over themselves to answer that one – but Uwe Leuschner (FELB) did venture an answer – that, after all, there were terminals in Europe that were already full, and there are new sites eager to join the club, as it were.  “The one million TEU per annum club means a train departing your terminal every twenty minutes”.
1640: It has been an epic first day, and under the circumstances a resounding success. A quick wind up from the hall (well, there is a curfew in place and the bars all close at 1700 CET) and a couple of words from the event director Rob Vos – just to say that the hybrid model is working, and the level of online engagement is well above expectations.
There is a whole day of deliberations tomorrow – so there is still time to get involved. The European Silk Road Summit is a two-day event about the Eurasian corridor. This year is the 5th edition, taking place in Amsterdam and online,. Tickets for physical attendance are sold out (boo hoo), but you can still get your online ticket here. The phase out of subsidies, container rates, congestion, Russian transit and new destinations are among the topics. Check out the programme here.
We’re back tomorrow (Wednesday) with LIVE BLOGGING from the key morning session and the closing addresses. It all gets underway at 0930 CET Amsterdam; 0830 GMT (London); 1630 Beijing/Singapore; 0330 Washington – set your alarms.
We hope you can join us. Goodbye for now.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

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

1 comment op “European Silk Road Summit: this is the live blog”

Rail Rate Advisors|14.01.22|05:36

The article is good. It’s informative and didactic. We would love to read more articles related to Rail freight or any other rail-related topic. And keep writing descriptive articles like this.

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