DB Schenker will launch a new China-to-Germany intermodal pilot service on Aug. 14 in conjunction with partners in China, adding to the growing number of rail options available to shippers seeking faster delivery times to Europe from China than currently possible using slow-steaming ocean liner services.
The company is also examining the launch of additional services linking Asia to Europe and Central Asia, Bernhard Wiezorek, director of rail logistics and forwarding DB Schenker, told The Journal of Commerce.
The pilot service will operate from the rapidly expanding inland China manufacturing hub of Zhengzhou through to Hamburg, Germany, and will offer 51 container slots per trip. The plan is to build the route into a weekly block train operation by the end of the year.
"Most containers are from local forwarders, but, as the only international freight forwarder, DB Schenker provides around 25 percent of the volume," Wiezorek said.
Zhengzhou International Land Port Development is the initiator and main organizer of the trial in China, with DB Schenker operating the train once it leaves China and providing logistics support and on-carriage of boxes by truck in Europe.
In North-Central China, Zhengzhou is located at the intersection of China’s North-South and East-West rail routes.
Initially, the new service will focus on Asia-to-Europe shipments, but backload options are being examined. "Currently, the Zhengzhou-Hamburg route is a one-way-connection," Wiezorek said. "However, we have several large customers that have already expressed their strong interest in using this route for return shipments.”
DB Schenker already runs regular weekly dedicated trains from Chongqing to Duisburg and from Leipzig to Shenyang for, respectively, customers in the electronics and automotive sectors.
Wiezorek said routes to Russia and Central Asia from China also have huge block train potential with Moscow and Almaty the most likely destinations for future services.
“We are already shipping rail cargo from China to both regions for many customers and are confident that we can contribute a lot to the development of these routes,” he added.
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