16 May 2018

New Rail Freight Network from Forwarding and Rail Cargo Groups  

Silk Road Gets Another New Player

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Shipping News Feature AUSTRIA – CHINA – DHL Global Forwarding and the Rail Cargo Group (RCG), the freight division of the Austrian Federal Railways, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an intermodal rail freight network between Austria and China, tapping into rising trade along China's Silk Road Economic Belt between Europe and Asia. Christoph Wahl, Managing Director DHL Global Forwarding Austria, said:

"We are delighted with this new direct connection between Austria and China. Austria's economic relations with China are growing steadily and at the same time Vienna is an important hub for trade flows to and from Eastern and Southern Europe."

The partnership kicked off with the inaugural 600-metre container train’s journey from Chengdu's Qingbaijiang Railway Station to the Vienna South Freight Centre. At the end of April, representatives of DHL Global Forwarding, Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen, representatives of RCG and delegates from China welcomed this first direct train from China. The latest route in DHL's Asia-Europe-Asia multimodal network connects Chengdu to Vienna in just 15 days, spanning 9,800 kilometres and crossing six countries - China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Austria.

Under the MoU, DHL Global Forwarding and RCG will work together to boost rail freight capacity and jointly develop alternative routes to existing China-Europe connections, building on RCG's infrastructure on the trans-Kazakh routes of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Meanwhile DHL Global Forwarding says it will also provide door-to-door services including pre- and on-carriage trucking between Qingbaijiang and other parts of China; and between Vienna South Freight Centre, other European rail stations in its network, and customers' final destinations for delivery.

With Chengdu's economy poised to grow even further according to analysts, with plans for a one-trillion yuan industrial cluster focused on biomedicine, automotive equipment, intelligent manufacturing and e-commerce services by 2022, the route will also be capable of sustaining growth in high-value exports between China and Austria. Thomas Kargl, Member of the Board of Directors of the Rail Cargo Group, commented:

"This direct connection offers fast, efficient and sustainable multimodal capacity supporting high-growth sectors that will bring immense benefits to both countries and continents. The Chinese market holds enormous growth potential for Europe, and we intend for this route to support trade volumes that grew nearly 16% last year - and show no sign of slowing or decreasing in the future. DHL's world-class forwarding services, tailored to a broad range of freight types and requirements, will draw out the best in our rail infrastructure connecting Austria to China and the world."

Photo: Left to right – Erik Regter (Member of the Board RCG), Thomas Kowitzki (Head of China Rail, Mulitmodal Europe, DHL Global Forwarding), Thomas Kargl (Member of the Board RCG), Christoph Wahl (Managing Director Austria, DHL Global Forwarding) and Clemens Först (Spokesperson of the Board RCG)

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