China gets rolling on direct Shenzhen-Minsk freight rail link

On Monday morning a train with 41 containers, packed with Chinese products from mobile phones to car parts, is expected to take two weeks to reach Minsk on a new 9,900km railway cargo route linking with the Shenzhen port of Yantian. Chongqing also has a regular rail cargo service to Duisburg in Germany, and Yiwu has similar services to London and Madrid.

Zhang Chunhua, chairman of industrial supplier China Brilliant Group, said China Brilliant had ploughed 80 million yuan (US$11.6 million) into building warehouses along the route, training staff, and upgrading surveillance, as part of a joint venture with German logistics firm DHL. The idea is to establish Shenzhen as Asia’s centre of cargo transfer and to improve the Pearl River Delta’s exports, services might be expanded and the route extended to Hamburg in Germany.

DHL greater China chief executive Steve Huang said China’s belt and road plan offered opportunities for companies to ¬combine maritime and rail routes. He said transport by rail was faster than sea freight and cheaper than air cargo. A shipment usually takes more than a month to get from China to Europe by sea.