The first large-scale consignment of masks and other protective equipment has arrived in the port of Rostock via the trans-Eurasian rail link. The delivery consisted of four containers carrying 7.4 million protective masks for Germany and another six containers filled with protective equipment urgently needed in Italy. Dr Sigrid Nikutta, Board Member for Freight Transport at DB, was in Rostock today to oversee the freight's arrival at the port.
"I am delighted that we can help the German government in the fight against coronavirus. As proposed by Andreas Scheuer, Germany's Transport Minister, we are moving more and more protective equipment using eco-friendly rail networks. We have so much expertise in the fields of procurement and international logistics at DB Schenker and DB Cargo, and we are ready and willing to make this knowledge available so the country can operate its supply lines," says DB CEO Dr Richard Lutz.
DB Cargo and DB Schenker have provided combined services to make distribution and logistics possible. After leaving the terminal in the Chinese city of Xi'an, the train needed just 12 days to cross Kazakhstan and Russia. By the time it arrived in Kaliningrad, the train had covered over 10,000 kilometres. The containers were then loaded onto a ship bound for Rostock, where they were transferred to trains which continued on to Duisburg and Verona. Following these train journeys, the final part of distribution network will use lorries. Acting as a single source for these services, DB has been responsible for the entire door-to-door process, which also includes packing, customs clearance and documentation.
Deutsche Bahn is also helping the German government procure up to 50 million FFP2 face masks from China. These items are urgently needed to protect against coronavirus transmission in hospitals, medical practices and care homes across Germany, and plans are in place to ensure that future deliveries to Germany will also arrive by train.
Rail transport from China has a host of advantages over air connections. It is considerably more cost efficient, but it is also far more climate friendly: CO2 emissions alone are ten times lower in comparison.