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DHL launches China-Germany rail express

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DHL Global Forwarding has launched a new rail express service from China to Europe offering transit times of just 10 to 12 days.

Launched in partnership with Xi’an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group Co., DHL said the service from Xi’an in China to Hamburg and Neuss in Germany is now the fastest available.

The new rail express takes an approximate 9,400-kilometer route through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania to Kaliningrad Oblast, a part of the Russian Federation on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. It then enters the European Union via the Mamonovo-Braniewo crossing between Russia and Poland before continuing on to the port of Hamburg and finally to Neuss on the River Rhine.

“Traversing numerous countries, the fastest rail service between China and Germany was created with the support of China Railway, Belintertrans, RTSB Gmbh and UTLC–Eurasian Rail Alliance,” said a DHL statement.

Rail services between Asia and Europe have increased in popularity in recent years with shippers attracted by improved reliability, faster transit times when compared to ocean shipping options and lower prices than air cargo

The Northern Eurasian corridor used by DHL via China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland has emerged as the fastest and most reliable route, carrying 325,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2018, according to a report earlier this year from the European Commission (EC). This predicted traffic would rise to at least 437,000 TEU by 2030 but could rise to over 4 million TEU if sufficient capacity and funding became available.

“Two significant factors will affect this development – rail transport subsidies by Chinese local governments and the infrastructure capacity along main railway routes and border crossings, especially between Poland and Belarus,” added the report.

DHL recently opened two Rail Competence Centers in Le Havre, France and Felixstowe, U.K., in response to growing demand for rail freight services between Europe and China.

The company said the Xi’an-Germany express rail connection would offer customers real-time milestone visibility using GPS tracking of shipments via the iSee software platform.

Xi’an is at the heart of the New Silk Road economic belt and has developed into a significant manufacturing and digital hub, added Steve Huang, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding China.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Qu Jinwei, General Manager of Xi’an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group Co., said the service would help attract more investment to the region.

“As next steps, we will strive to make this express rail freight a success,” he said. “This would attract more industries to our region, fortifying their capabilities to gather resources from international supply chains and sharpening their competitive edges.”