China's Unique Logistics Story: The Silk Road on Rails - Global Trade Magazine
  August 26th, 2016 | Written by

China’s Unique Logistics Story: The Silk Road on Rails

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  • The Silk Road on rails.
  • Block trains to and from China and Europe carry goods.
  • China-Europe rail route is the longest in the world.

One of the biggest logistics stories coming out of China these days has been the launching of the Silk Road on rails. Block trains to and from China and Europe are now carrying goods halfway across the globe.

The proposal to establish China-Europe railroads surprised even the most experienced of rail industry players, yet thousands of trains now traverse these tracks annually.

Not least surprised was the Director of Operations at the Hamburg Eurogate terminal, Thorsten Reese, who remarked, “Three year ago I couldn’t imagine Germany and China being connected with rail cars; it is unbelievable!”

The China-Europe rail route is the longest in the world covering some 6,000 miles in total.

The first block train left Zhengzhou for Hamburg on July 18, 2013, connecting people along the Silk Road and shortening the distance between continents. The 12-day, six-country journey posed challenges. Would European companies welcome the new trade route? Would the cargo be secure? Would the project even be practical?

The trans-Eurasia rail trip began as a once-a-month event and China soon realized it required partners to make it successful. With partners on board, Hamburg became the pioneer on the European side. The German port city now serves as both a departure and destination point for the China-Europe block trains.

Thanks to a highly motivated Chinese workforce, Reese sees the cargo arrive safely and on time. The China Train employees are an enthusiastic group and make sure the trains are loaded and off-loaded on schedule.

The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce came on board after realizing the potential in the Silk Road Rail project. The chamber’s managing director , Corinna Nienstedt, did not mince her word when she said, “It is a new opportunity to transport between Hamburg on one hand, and Europe on the other hand, from China.”

This project has lowered the cost of transportation significantly and commerce between China and Europe over the rails is now thriving.

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