Trans-Eurasian Rail Transports on the Advance

The logistics arm of Deutsche Post, DHL Global Forwarding has added a third rail service to its existing multimodal network, linking Zhengzhou and Hamburg both westbound and eastbound twice a week. Simultaneously to this decision Polish rail freight company PKP Cargo and Chinese shuttle train operator Zhengzhou International Hub Development have announced establishing a joint venture for providing trans-Eurasian rail transports.

The Zhengzhou-Hamburg tracks span more than 10,000 kilometers
The Zhengzhou-Hamburg tracks span more than 10,000 kilometers

Operating cargo trains between the Pacific Rim and Europe respectively in the opposite west-to-east direction is becoming increasingly en-vogue, exemplified by two decisions made public these past days: Firstly, DHL Global Forwarding’s announcement of a third rail service China-Europe-China and secondly the pact signed by PKP Cargo and its Henan-based partner to form a rail joint venture for transports crossing the vast land bridge stretching from Central China to Eastern Europe.  

Different booking options
Regarding the DHL project, it’s a twice-weekly operated 17-day service starting in Zhengzhou and ending in Hamburg, complementing the logistics giant’s existing rail links from Suzhou and Chengdu to Europe and back. The new service offers clients to book full containers or opt for less-than-container loads (LCL). Compared to ocean freight, rail transports enable time savings of between 10 and 21 days, depending on origin and destination pairs. This reduces capital lockup and a sharp fall of greenhouse gas emissions of up to 90 percent in comparison to air freighting the goods. 

DHL GF’s strategy aims at further growing the rail network
Steve Huang, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding China points out that Zhengzhou, Suzhou and Chengdu are economic hot spots of trade and development in China. He added to this: “their strategic locations with close proximity to main Chinese cities of economic importance such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Dalian and Shenzhen are integral to a successful multimodal network spanning China to Europe. Offering multiple loading points across China has created business opportunities for customers in many industries and we are investing to expand our network to further increase these opportunities."

Two-way traffic flows
In addition, the twice-weekly eastbound Hamburg-Zhengzhou service is also available to customers favouring cargo trains instead of opting for ocean freight or air solutions for moving their shipments from Europe to Asia. It starts running at the beginning of July.
Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific lauds the service: "Our multimodal network covers a wide geographical area between Asia and Europe, offering seamless connections with solutions that ensure complete supply chain visibility and a faster-to-market option for our customers."

Polish PKP is capturing an increasing slice of cargo train transports
Almost concomitantly with DHL’s announcement Polish rail freight operator PKP Cargo and Zhengzhou International Hub Development & Construction of Central China’s Henan province have reached an accord on setting up a joint venture for container transport between China and Europe. The plan is scheduled to be put into practice within no more than 3 months, with both partners holding 50 percent of the stakes of the JV. From Zhengzhou the trains will run across Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus to Malaszewicze, a village in eastern Poland, close to the Polish-Belarusian border. After being reloaded the containers will be railed across Europe to their final destinations. Together with existing rail transports, PKP Cargo expects to operate up to 300 trains per year, adding to the 3.5 percent of Chinese exports currently transported across the Eurasian land bridge.

Heiner Siegmund

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