New Shandong Europe Express links China with Hamburg

Goods from Jinan travel via Silk Road
13 May 2020
Axel Mattern, CEO of Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V., Michael, Senator for Economics and DU Xiaohui, Consulate General

The new Shandong Europe Express arrived in Hamburg from Jinan in late April for the first time as part of improved, dense train links between Hamburg and China. The train is due to depart with 41 40-foot containers (FEU) on May 16 and 30, 2020. The freight train is operated by the Shandong Hi-Speed Group and offers Hamburg an opportunity to position itself as a key rail hub to China rather than relying solely on maritime trade. 

Hamburg as a junction for traffic to China

While air transport is swift, it is also the most expensive means of transport. The cost of the overland train route is between that of ship and aircraft. Journeys on the overland route between Asia and Europe take two to three weeks. Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics, said: "I am very pleased that we can further expand the connections between Hamburg and China. The continental dimension, i.e. above all rail transport, offers great opportunities for the Port of Hamburg and is one of its decisive strengths. Some 12 per cent of national rail freight traffic is destined for the Port of Hamburg or starts there. This is a good prerequisite for continuing to play these strengths on the Silk Road sustainably in future." 

Expanding trade

Shandong lies on the east coast of China and is the country's third most important province in terms of gross domestic product. Last year, 204 marketed weekly connections were offered between Hamburg and 20 Chinese destinations including Beijing, Shenzhen and Wuhan. In 2019, some 100,000 standard containers (TEU) were transported via the Silk Road. The Port of Hamburg handles some 2.6 million TEUs annually in traffic to China. Almost every third container that crosses the quays in the port is destined for or originates in China, Hamburg's most important trading partner.