DB Cargo Eurasia is repositioning itself in order to bring even more freight transport onto the rails between Europe and China in the long term. As of November, its wholly owned subsidiary DB Cargo Transasia has given it a greater presence in the Chinese market – not only in terms of the sheer number of freight transports on the Eurasian corridor, but also in terms of people power. Over 20 employees are now available in Shanghai and Xi’an to take care of our Chinese customers’ requirements, orders and requests. “Thanks to our new presence, we’ll be even closer to our customers and will be able to meet with them in person, proactively maintain contact with them, handle billing directly, respond more quickly, and implement tasks more quickly – all things that are appreciated in the Asian market,” says Frank Schulze, General Manager at DB Cargo Transasia.
Confidence and flexibility
And Schulze knows what he’s talking about. He has been in China on behalf of DB Cargo Eurasia since August 2018. Before taking on his new role, he served as Head of the DB Cargo Liaison Office China, the predecessor to DB Cargo Transasia. “When Jeremy Tang and I started the liaison office in 2018, we had next to nothing. We had to take care of everything, just the two of us,” says Schulze. “The first few months were not easy. We were overjoyed when the first train was booked.” According to Schulze, two things in particular were important: building confidence and demonstrating flexibility. “China is insanely fast-paced. It doesn’t wait for you. Everything needs to be taken care of quickly. Acting fast is more important here than anywhere else in the world because things can change in just a matter of hours.”
“Highly motivated, energetic team”
Of course, the goal wasn’t to book only one train. The DB Cargo Liaison Office China won over customers and was already well ahead of its ambitious targets by the end of 2019. The next logical step was to establish DB Cargo Transasia and set up a team in Asia to take care of operations directly on site. When DB Cargo Transasia opened on 26 November 2021, 23 employees were already working at the two offices in Shanghai and Xi’an, with numbers rising. “We’ve put together a highly motivated, energetic, young team that is incredibly fun to work with” says Schulze.
More volume in China
The team has set very clear goals: increasing block train volume, expanding single container business, and gaining a foothold in other regions of China in order to give DB Cargo an even more important role in the Eurasian corridor in the future. DB Cargo Transasia is already cooperating with 20 Chinese logistics platforms, and its transports cross four of China’s borders.
One for all, all for one
Schulze sees growth continuing, especially in light of sustainability concerns, which, as elsewhere, are becoming increasingly important in China. Although the Middle Kingdom is currently the world’s largest producer of carbon emissions, it is aiming for climate neutrality by 2060. Many regions are already changing the way they think and are expanding rail on a grand scale. Schulze and his team want to score points with environmentally friendly and reliable DB Cargo power and quality: “That only works if everyone involved is aware that they’re part of this development. Everyone on my team knows what depends on them and that’s why we all support each other.”
Like working on a space station
As if establishing DB Cargo Transasia weren’t challenging enough, the DB Cargo Liaison Office China also had to deal with Covid-19 restrictions. Employees worked exclusively from home for several months while the Chinese government’s strict lockdown was in place. They’ve only been able to meet with the DB Cargo Eurasia team in Germany through video conferencing since then. “None of our colleagues from Berlin have been to China and none of us have been to Germany since the end of 2019. Sometimes I feel like I’m working on a space station – albeit a very big and beautiful one.”
How DB Cargo Transasia came to be
- August 2018: The DB Cargo Liaison Office China was established in Shanghai with two employees: Frank Schulze and Jeremy Tang
- November 2018: “Fight” for the first train: Frank Schulze and Jeremy Tang stayed in Chengdu for a week and fought until the last minute. The first train ran at the end of 2018.
- June 2019: DB Cargo Eurasia attracted the attention of many Chinese customers at transport logistic in Munich.
- End of December 2019: DB Cargo Eurasia won the tender for the Hefei-Hamburg train
- End of March 2020: The first train from Xi’an travelled to Rostock via Kaliningrad, bypassing the bottleneck of Małaszewicze/Brest for the first time. Urgently needed facemasks for Germany were among the freight transported on the train.
- 18 March 2021: The Xi’an office was opened to provide better local service in Xi’an. Five employees now work there.
- July 2021: DB Cargo Transasia officially registered in Shanghai
- 28 September 2021: The first train travelled from Shanghai to Hamburg
- 26 November 2021: DB Cargo Transasia celebrated its opening
About DB Cargo Transasia
- puts us where our customers in China are, allowing us to work and communicate more closely with them.
- is the first DB Cargo company outside Europe.
- operates connections between 10,000 and 12,000 kilometres long.
- is seven hours ahead of DB Cargo in Germany in winter and six hours ahead in summer.
- has two offices – one in Xi’an, one in Shanghai – which are over 1,400 kilometres apart within China.
- offers real woman power – women make up 78% of the team.