Agreement to expand Euro-Asian rail transport
China, Russian Railway and Deutsche Bahn sign Letter of Intent / Participation in company to develop the combined transport sector in China
Berlin, Germany – The Chinese Railway Ministry, the Russian Railway RZD and Deutsche Bahn AG plan to expand rail freight traffic between China and Europe. A corresponding letter of intent was signed at the start of this week in Beijing by the Chinese Railway Minister Liu Zhijun, RZD President Vladimir Yakunin and DB Chairman and CEO Hartmut Mehdorn. “We wish to shift the growing volumes of freight traffic between China and Europe onto rail,” said Mehdorn. “In view of the high quality and short transport time of just twelve days, goods can be carried by rail in a much shorter time than by ship. The next stage is now the development of suitable products for the market.” The preparations are already under way. “Within just a few years, trains will head directly from Beijing to Berlin,” announced Mehdorn.
In Beijing, DB also confirmed its intention of participating in an international consortium aimed at promoting the combined transport sector in China. Transport volume is expected to increase at least five-fold, up to around ten million 20-foot containers, by the year 2011. To cope with that growth, EUR 1.2 billion will be invested in the construction of 18 combined transport terminals over the next five years. Norbert Bensel, Member of the DB Management Board for Transportation and Logistics, commented: “As the largest combined transport operator in Europe, we already have exceptional expertise in this sector, which we plan to contribute to the rapidly growing Chinese market. For us, this is a unique opportunity of gaining a foothold in the Chinese rail freight market, the first foreign rail undertaking to do so.“
DB will hold eight per cent of the shares in the new company. A corresponding agreement, which still has to be approved by the DB Supervisory Board, was signed by Mehdorn and Bensel in Beijing. In addition to DB and CRCTC, a subsidiary of the Chinese Railway Ministry which will hold 34 per cent, other members of the consortium will include the financial investor New World from Hong Kong (22 per cent), CIMC, the leading international company for container equipment (ten per cent), the Chinese financial investor Hancai (ten per cent), the French shipping company CMA/CGM (eight per cent) and the Israeli company ZIM (eight per cent).