Fully loaded, the first container block train on the new service reached the DUSS terminal in Hamburg on October 25. The new service improves the already fine range of rail offerings between Hamburg and China.

Commencing in Hamburg’s partner city Shanghai, the new service took the train via Alashankou in Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ma?aszewicze in Poland, and finally to Hamburg. The launch ceremony took place in the presence of two deputy Mayors of Shanghai, ZHANG Wei and ZONG Ming. The ‘Shanghai Express’ is operated by Shanghai Orient Silkroad Intermodal Co. Ltd.

Peter Tschentscher, Hamburg’s First Mayor, sees the new container train service as further boosting trade relations between Hamburg and China.

“I am delighted that with the ‘Shanghai-Express’, a direct freight train service between Hamburg and Shanghai has now commenced. Hamburg and Shanghai have been partner cities for 35 years. We cooperate especially in trade and industry, but also on science and research, on education and culture. This new container train service brings Hamburg and Shanghai closer together. It is an important addition to German-Chinese trade routes.”

The ‘Shanghai-Express’ departed on its first run with fifty 40-ft containers loaded with clothing, shoes, glassware, automotive parts, photovoltaic equipment, cooking utensils, furniture, lamps and other consumer goods. TONG Jisheng, chairman of the operator, expects to offer the train’s first return run from Hamburg to Shanghai within about one month.

In regular operation, initially one train per week will leave for Hamburg, yet in the long term, frequency will be boosted to between two and three runs per week. According to the operator, departures until the end of this year are already fully booked.

Around 2.4 million standard containers, or TEUs, are handled annually in the China trade in the Port of Hamburg. Almost every third container crossing its quay walls is bound for China or originates there.

Rail offers an alternative to sea and air transport. Last year, over 230 weekly services were marketed between Hamburg and 20 destinations in the People’s Republic. Further connections from Shijiazhuang in the province of Hebei and Wuhei in Gansu have been added this year. In 2020, around 107,000 TEU were transported between China and Hamburg by rail.

The ports in the cities of Hamburg and Shanghai have been in partnership ever since 2004. Thanks to Hamburg’s representative office on the spot, the good relations between the players in seaborne transport have been extended to those involved in Trans-Eurasian rail services.

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