It’s the largest construction project ever. It will change enormous sectors of the transport and logistics industry. It will have an impact on the economy, even on political power structures: The New Silk Road

Prof. Hans-Christian Pfohl, Supply Chain- und Network Management, TU Darmstadt:
„The New Silk Road offers logistics providers opportunities, also for the logistics of industrial companies. Because here with a land connection by rail is an alternative to air freight that needs five days to ocean freight that needs six weeks. Rail freight needs 15 days. It can be 12 days. The advantages can already be seen: at Duisburg harbour, 50 trains a week arrive.”

With an investment volume of roughly one billion Euros China’s mammoth project has stirred up the world of logistics. It’s uncertain how European companies will collaborate in the One-Belt, One-Road initiative. But with the right strategies there are opportunities to be part of the developments.

Hairong Chen, Vice President, Sinotrans Limited:
“Globally, we need many cooperation partners . For example, in Germany we already have many partners. That’s neccessary. We couldn’t achieve so much alone.“

Deutsche Bahn already has a number of partners in China and has successfully developed it´s connections with Eurasian countries. Looking at business prospects, the trend is clear.

Dr. Carsten Hinne, Senior Vice President Corridor Development China Eurasien Corridor, Deutsche Bahn:
„We’ve continuously increased business along the Eurasian corridor. To name a figure, last year we transported 85,000 standard containers. And we aim to transport 100,000 containers by 2020.“

Medium-sized transport and logistics companies have profited for years on the new routes. The air and sea-freight expert, Bolloré has realigned its offers due to the increased demand. Rail transport is an inherent part of the portfolio.

The Dutch logistic group GVT has opened a Dutch pavillion in Chengdu. Apart from the transport of goods to Europe, the Netherlands is now exporting goods from the Benelux to China.

Senator International has also been concentrating on rail travel. The Hamburg company has established the product Asia Rail Bridge.

Logistics giant DHL sees greater prospects in rail connections between Europe and Asia. Apart from opening new markets freight should be more sustainable.

Thomas Kowitzki, DHL:
“Customers profit from shorter journeys, compared to ocean freight and lower costs, compared to air freight. But we see further prospects with rail transport. We can reach new markets, we can open up for countries like Japan and South Korea, we can reach our climate protection aims because transport by rail is more climate friendly.”

Mostly European ports profit by the increase in ocean container freight. Piraeus, Rotterdam, Duisburg or Hamburg are all enormous transhipment points. Not just because of the ships but because containers from China arrive here daily.

Ingo Egloff, Hamburger Hafen:
„It’s a chance to try out new means of logistics, for example by stabilizing transport operations. But the conditions have to be right“.

The New Silk Road is anything but a sure-fire success. On the Chinese side national interests are most important. A European aim will be to work together on an equal basis.

Ingo Egloff, Hamburger Hafen:
“Partnerships must be on an equal footing because anything else is not in our interests. That’s why it’s very significant that the German government and also the European Union has made it clear that there must be equal conditions. That means, when China wants to invest in Europe, European companies must be able to invest in China.”

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