Germany-Asia rail freight volumes rise 10-fold in a year


Rail freight volumes between Germany and Asia have increased 10-fold in just one year, according to DHL Global Forwarding, which has opened a central China Rail Competence Centre in Stuttgart, Germany to optimise its expanding intercontinental intermodal services.

The air and ocean freight division of Deutsche Post DHL Group said the specialist competence centre would “ensure the more efficient and customer-friendly coordination of ever-growing freight volumes transported between Germany and Asia by the rail freight service”.

Explaining the strategic rationale behind the decision, Volker Oesau, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding in Germany and Central Europe, commented: “Rail freight volumes between Germany and Asia have increased 10-fold in just one year. In order to meet ever-increasing demand, the onus is on us to grow, optimize processes and create synergies.”

DHL Global Forwarding’s Germany-based China Rail team has been expanded both in terms of freight handling and customer service. It said the experts in the Stuttgart Rail Competence Centre primarily provide support to German customers in the automotive, technology, mechanical engineering and retail sectors.

“They are developing appropriate multi-modal transport solutions and coordinating end-to-end transport processes, from collection, export and transit formalities, and the Euro-Asian rail service, right through to customs clearance in the land of arrival and delivery by truck or combined rail transport. State-of-the-art track and trace systems facilitate transparent shipment tracking – with temperature information if desired,” the company said.

The team is also “developing tailored security concepts specifically for very high quality goods”.

In total, DHL Global Forwarding offers 15 rail connections, equating to seven weekly door-to-door freight train services between Germany and the Far East. The trains follow the course of the trans-Kazakh western corridor and the trans-Siberian northern corridor with a dense network of rail hubs in all the major economic centres in China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

Customers can choose from DHL Railconnect products for less than container load (LCL) shipments, full container load (FCL) shipment products from DHL Railline and temperature-controlled rail services. Pre-carriage and onward carriage is offered by truck or combined rail transport based on the urgency of the respective shipment.

The company said the process of ‘re-gauging’ wagons – transferring them across rail networks with different rail track widths – and transit handling was now operating very efficiently.

“Both the re-gauging of wagons necessitated by different track sizes and transit handling at all border crossings is perfectly timed and runs seamlessly,” explained Oesau. “The introduction of the standardized CIM/SMGS waybill has simplified rail transport procedure and minimized the administrative effort entailed at border crossing points.”

The document is recognized by customs authorities and facilitates the faster clearance of goods transports as part of a simplified rail transport procedure “under Community law”. The waybill can be used for both wagon-load traffic and combined transport, and dispenses with the transcription of documents at border crossings between two legal jurisdictions, DHL said.