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Whitles Along the Rhine


Chongqing - In 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Germany's then Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economics and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, witnessed the smooth arrival of the YUXINOU (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) train in Duisburg, Germany.

Situated on the banks of the Rhine River, the Port of Duisburg stands as the world's largest inland port. The arrival of the China-Europe Railway Express bolstered its status as Europe's gateway to Asia.

On December 28, 2017, the first China-Europe Railway Express (Chongqing) train departed from Guoyuan Port, heading to its destination, Duisburg, Germany. (Photo/Chongqing Daily)

In 2013, President Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, invoking the historical symbol of the Silk Road to encourage partner countries to engage in comprehensive economic cooperation.

"Obviously he was quite happy to see that the Belt and Road Initiative finally reached Duisburg," recalled Markus Bangen, CEO of Duisport, who was present during Xi's visit. "For me in person, this is a very impressive and very emotional moment."

Markus Bangen, CEO of Duisport. (Photo/WCICO)

Over the past decade, this railway line connecting Asia and Europe has maintained steady operations, achieving continuous progress and bridging the vast Eurasian landmass.

"It is an instrument to connect much more parts of the Chinese and the European economy via the rail than it is today by deep sea or air cargo,"  Bangen added. "So it is the link which can help us to even work stronger and tougher together."

Zhou Shulin, Chairman of Board of YUXINOU (Chongqing) Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd., highlighted that traditional sea freight could take weeks to reach Europe. Since its inception in 2011, the YUXINOU rail link, covering 11,179 kilometers, has reduced transit time to just 16 days.

Zhou Shulin, Chairman of Board of YUXINOU (Chongqing) Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. (Photo/WCICO)

"This also played a significant role in attracting the laptop industry cluster to settle in Chongqing at that time," Zhou said.

Wu Song, Vice General Manager of Changan Automobile Logistics Center, revealed that the China-Europe Railway Express has become the main transportation route for Changan Automobile to reach CIS region markets. In 2023, approximately 60,000 vehicles were exported through this railway, covering 60% to 100% of the company's market share in several countries in the region.

German employee's optimism for 'Silk Road' continuity

The China-Europe Railway Express has extended its coverage by linking with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. This connection facilitates direct rail shipments and rail-sea intermodal transportation between Europe and Southeast Asia, linking with key international ports such as Singapore.

Moreover, an increasing number of European luxury cars, wines, and agricultural products are being shipped to Asia via this rail route, transforming it into a genuine two-way corridor.

Modern logistics growth in Duisburg has spurred numerous logistics companies, creating new jobs and revitalizing the city as it handles vast quantities of goods.

In an interview in 2023, Markus Teuber, China Affairs Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Duisburg, Germany, stated that in 2014, there were only about 40 Chinese companies in Duisburg, but by 2023, this number had exceeded 120.

Thomas Krajnicki, a German employee with four years of experience at YUXINOU Germany GmbH, also voiced his optimism for the enduring presence of the "Silk Road." He anticipates strengthened ties and cooperation, further solidifying the partnership between Duisburg and China, enabling him to work until retirement.

Thomas Krajnicki, German staff of YUXINOU Germany GmbH. (Photo/WCICO)


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