DHL launches faster rail services, connecting Xi’an with Hamburg, Neuss

By Chen Shasha in Shanghai Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/4 21:53:41

Qu Jinwei (left), general manager of Xi'an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group Co and Steve Huang, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding China, shake hand at the press conference held on Monday. Photo: Courtesy of DHL Global Forwarding China

DHL Global Forwarding and Xi'an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group Co jointly launched a new rail service connecting Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, to Hamburg and Neuss in Germany on Monday. 

Previously, transit time was 17 days, but the new service cuts this to 10 to 12 days. The new rail service is the fastest line between China and Germany, Steve Huang, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding China, announced at a press conference held on Monday.

Approximately 9,400 kilometers in length, the new service runs across Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland before reaching the port city of Hamburg and Neuss, an important logistics hub along the Rhine River. It aims to provide multimodal logistics services for countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) routes.

DHL will join the upcoming second China International Import Expo (CIIE), held in Shanghai from Tuesday to Sunday. The company will showcase its green and innovative logistics solutions at the event, according to Huang. "I think CIIE is a very good opportunity for us to have face-to-face communication with customers," Huang said.

According to Huang, DHL now boasts four rail competence service centers in China and plans to do more to expand its rail service competency in the country.

"There are a lot of marvelous stories about the development of China's logistics industry in past decades, but they are not the end," Huang told the Global Times. He believes that there is still room to improve in China's logistics industry.

Huang said that around the year 1999, the cost for exported products in China's logistics industry accounted for an average of 20 to 30 percent of the total exports. That number had been decreasing until 2010 when it hit 16 to 18 percent.

"A reasonable and highly developed logistics system should account for 6 to 8 percent," Huang told the Global Times. "Therefore, there is still a long way to go for China's logistics industry." 

Huang believes that sea-rail combined transport should be promoted continuously. He said that, considering environmental protection and cost, the high-speed rail can also be a solution to meet growing logistics needs in the future.

Shao Zhonglin, former assistant secretary-general of the China Express Association, told the Global Times on Monday that foreign logistics companies now take the lion's share in international logistics and express delivery services. International couriers including UPS, FedEx and DHL take the majority of business from China's international express delivery service.

"China's express delivery and logistics industry has witnessed growth in recent years by introducing advanced, automated equipment, but there is more to be done in technology, transport efficiency and service quality," Shao said.

According to Shao, Chinese express delivery companies have not yet set up an express delivery network which reaches major countries. This is not sufficient to serve the BRI.

"We have also made some achievements in special express lines - like rail express from Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang Province and Xi'an - to Europe, but a network in this aspect is not yet set up," Shao said.

Shao believes that foreign companies will bring leading management methods, industry standards and advanced equipment, as well as the experience of exploring overseas markets, which will benefit Chinese companies.

Separately, US delivery firm FedEx does not consider the Chinese market to be an important one. It allegedly will be included on the potential unreliable entity list due to a series of blunders and offences.

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