We may have found a solution for shippers looking for an option between an expensive but quick air freight option and a less expensive but slower sea freight option.. This seems to be the message from Steve Huang, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding China..
A joint initiative between DHL Global Forwarding and Xi’an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group Co. Ltd will see container freight being shipped from Xi’an in China to Hamburg and Neuss in Germany, a distance of around 7,861 kms in a record setting transit time of 10-12 days.. This is about 2-4 days shorter than the transit time for a similar distance between Chengdu to Vienna..
This express rail service which travels through the Mamonovo-Braniewo railway border between Russia and Poland is expected to be unveiled at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai aimed at helping to boost trade along the Belt and Road Initiative..
Speaking on the occasion, Steve Huang said “Xi’an is at the heart of the New Silk Road economic belt, taking on the same important role as it once did during the ancient route of Marco Polo’s era.”
“A foreign investment and manufacturing hub that has seen exports increase in 2018 by 29% year-on-year, the city today is a thriving international center with high-quality production capabilities in pillar industries like mechanicals, electronics, bio-pharmaceuticals and automobile manufacturing.
By boosting greater agility whilst offering the express rail service at reasonable costs, DHL Global Forwarding seeks to connect these fast-evolving industries to rising demand and market opportunities in Europe,
Two test operations have been conducted on the new route, assuring that transit time and quality can be ensured”, added Huang..
DHL is said to have started researching the freight rail service between China and Europe in 2008 on the back of increasing trade volumes between the two regions.. After launching the first China-Euro rail service in 2013 they have been continuously improving and expanding the route to facilitate the Belt and Road Initiative..
China is currently the EU’s 2nd largest trading partner with a trade value of around US$1.12 billion a day (approx. EUR 1 Billion), which is slated to grow..
As part of China’s commitment to the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZ), Greater Xi’an has been attracting growing foreign investments as the city positions itself as a hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G infrastructure and cloud computing to enhance its manufacturing capabilities..
Xi’an accounts for over 10 Billion Yuan (around EUR1.3 billion) in revenue through its specialization in AI with several global and local companies expected to invest close to 214 Billion Yuan (around EUR27.5 billion) in the city’s digital development..
Commenting on this initiative, Qu Jinwei, General Manager, Xi’an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group Co. Ltd said, “Over the past four months, we have been working closely with DHL to test and start this express line. Both teams have showed a tremendously high degree of enthusiasm and professionalism.
Using the development model of ‘hub and industry integration’ we will leverage this service to strengthen the collaboration between the region’s manufacturing and trading sectors with international logistics.”
A DHL press release, quotes Thomas Kowitzki, Head of China Rail, Multimodal Europe, DHL Global Forwarding. “We’ve seen a substantial increase in rail freight volumes along the ‘New Silk Road’ from China to Europe and vice versa.
Rail freight products are attractive due to their cost-effectiveness, short transit time, and lower CO2 emissions compared to other transport modes. Moreover, they require the real operational expertise that we bring to the table.
We are happy to further expand our European Rail presence with a focus on rail transport in the DHL network. With our growing number of dedicated Country Rail Competence Centers and cutting-edge rail services we are offering the right portfolio of transport expertise and solutions for our customers while their business between Europe and Asia continues to grow.”
The 9,400-km route will see the train moving through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Lithuania to Kaliningrad Oblast before entering the EU via the Mamonovo-Braniewo crossing..
The final stretch of the route will see the trains crossing Poland on its route to Hamburg in Germany and across Düsseldorf on its way to Neuss, an important logistics hub on the Rhine River..
Apart from the incredibly quick transit time, the Xi’an-Germany express rail service also offers customers technological and digital enhancements in the form real-time visibility and tracking of shipments using GPS and related software..