Success story in the Far East: ten years of service to China
Memorandum of understanding signed • Initial weekly freight train from Hefei to Hamburg • Service to start in October
From one to over 3,600 trains in ten years: train service to China has grown rapidly in the decade since it began, and it continues to grow. The number of containers transported between Europe and Asia has seen a consistent rise. Deutsche Bahn is making great strides toward its goal of transporting 100,000 standard containers a year by 2020. It expects to reach the 90,000 mark in 2018.
DB has established a new unit, DB Cargo Eurasia, to shift more traffic between Europe and Asia to rail over the long term. The new unit will operate service to and from China and will handle all of the related activities at the Group. A dedicated office opened in Shanghai in August for this purpose.
"What began with a single train on October 6, 2008, has long since become a success story," says Alexander Doll, Member of the DB Management Board for Freight Transport and Logistics. "Our new sales unit, DB Cargo Eurasia, is helping us offer even more products and services and improve our productivity. Starting this autumn, we will be testing a sea link between Kaliningrad and Rostock in response to many customer requests. This will allow us to distribute goods from the Baltic Sea port to the rest of Europe more quickly and with greater flexibility."
The way the rail companies involved exchange electronic data will also be improved for greater efficiency for customers. Doll, Vyacheslav Pavlovskiy – the Deputy CEO of Russian Railways RZD – and DB Cargo Polska signed a bilateral agreement in Potsdam in September.
Everything from clothing, paper and consumer goods to electronics and parts for various industry segments has been transported on the Trans-Eurasian corridor in the last ten years. With an average journey time of 14 to 16 days, it's faster than ship transport and less expensive than air. And it's climate friendly, too. While customers previously needed to book an entire block train, they now have the option of having individual containers and even individual packages transported on any train.
The first container was shipped on the Trans-Siberian Railway back in 1973. The first regular scheduled container train, loaded with computers, traveled from Xiangtang to Hamburg in October 2008. DB has offered regular service between China and Germany since 2011.