On 12 October, Deutsche Verkhers Zeitung (DVZ) held a market oriented seminar in Düsseldorf, the focus of which was the potential of the new Silk Roads and Eurasian rail corridor development.
As underlined by Sebastian Reimann, DVZ Deputy Chief Editor, who moderated the event, the seminar was the opportunity for business representatives from the entire transport chain to exchange on market opportunities, economic trends and logistics requirements.
In her opening speech, Lili Tao, Vice Consul General of the Chinese Consulate General in Düsseldorf, reminded the audience of the global economic impact of the Chinese OBOR (one belt one road) initiative and how it exceeded all expectations. She also underlined the crucial role of German hubs such as Duisburg and Hamburg as European distribution nodes to help serve an increasing number of destinations in Europe. She closed her welcome speech by saying that “those who work alone contribute but those who work together multiply”.
UIC, represented by Sandra Géhénot, Freight Director, was invited to present the results of the study commissioned from Roland Berger consultancy on the status and development of Eurasian rail corridors and their potential impact on the European rail freight corridors (RFCs).
She indicated that the study identified that after growing with CAGR 140% between 2014-16 to a volume of around 140,000 TEU in 2016, Eurasian rail transport is forecasted to reach around 640,000 TEU in the long-term (2027). Interviews with relevant stakeholders confirmed that the success factors for Eurasian rail freight have stayed largely constant in the last years. The establishment of regular services has improved their fulfillment and the focus in the coming years should be based on efficiency gains in operations as well as on a broader differentiation in services.
The Southern routes, also commonly referred to as “Silk Roads”, are forecasted to take over only a small share of the general Eurasian rail transport, around 3%. Their potential lies mainly in the connection of new markets like Turkey, Iran and South Asia to the EU and to East Asia. Concerning European Rail Freight Corridors, only a slight interconnection to Eurasian rail freight can be observed at the moment. But since many of the improvement potentials are placed in Europe, a stronger interconnection concerning border procedures, process improvements inside Europe and cross-border project developments could strongly benefit Eurasian traffic flows.
The presentation, which gave an overview of route development led to more specific round table discussions in which the key actors in Eurasian rail development took an active part.