Belt and Road Initiative

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Silk Road

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HAMBURG – Gateway to the New Silk Road

  • More than 2,000 years ago, goods were already traded between China and Europe via the ancient Silk Road. Today, the Chinese government wants to revive these transport routes. The so-called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) includes, among other things, the establishment of an extensive economic zone between Asia and Europe. It already covers far more areas than the original network of trading routes.

    Initially referred to as “One Belt, One Road”, the initiative comprises of two transport routes – the Silk Road Economic Belt by land and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century by sea. Like the ancient Silk Road, it is a network of routes through which goods could be exchanges by road, rail or ship between Asia, Africa and Europe.

    Since its announcement in 2013, continental rail services have become an integral pillar for the BRI due to the involvement of China. The network of rail corridors now extends from Europe’s western shores to China’s eastern coast. The Chinese government is constantly pushing ahead with its ambitious plans: In 2014, slightly fewer than 800 trains with a freight volume of 25,000 TEU ran along the New Silk Road between China and Western Europe. 2016 brought an increase to 1,700 trains, with a container volume of 145,000 TEU. According to estimates of the International Union of Railways (UIC), 878,000 TEU were transported on the Eurasian rail corridors in 2020.

HHM / Shutterstock

Connections to China

  • Intermodal connections between China and Hamburg

  • In 2020, 232 marketed weekly connections are offered between Hamburg and 20 Chinese destinations. The cities Changchun, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Ganzhou, Harbin, Hefei, Jinan, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Shilong, Suzhou, Weihai, Wuhan, Xiamen, Xi'an, Yantai, Yiwu and Zhengzhou were thus linked to Hamburg by regular train services via the New Silk Road.

    In 2020, around 107,000 TEU were transported by rail between Hamburg and China. The Port of Hamburg handles around 2.6 Mil. TEU in China trade every year. Almost one third of all containers passing through Germany’s largest seaport have China as their destination or origin.

    Intermodal Datenbank

    Updated 2020

The New Silk Road closes the gap between seaborne cargo and air freight

  • Ships, railways, or airplanes – you have to choose among these three means of transport when shipping goods between China and Europe. Costs and time are important factors in this decision. That is why seaborne transport is usually the first choice, since it is the most economical option. However, it can take up to eight weeks for the goods to reach their destination. With only one to two days transport time, choosing air transport is usually the fastest way, but also many times more expensive than maritime transport. The third alternative, transporting goods by rail, thus closes the gap between sea and air transport: Due to the BRI the railway connections between Europe and China have undergone immense improvements and trains only take 12 to 21 days to reach their destinations. The costs also range between those of sea and air freight.

  • Zhengzhou International Hub Development (ZIH) container at Eurokombi Terminal

  • Hamburg - European hub for the New Silk Road

    Connections between Asia and Europe

iStock gong hangxu

  • News

    • New Silk Road: Services between Hamburg and Xuzhou successfully established
      News

      Hinterland

      04.30.2021

      New Silk Road: Services between Hamburg and Xuzhou successfully established

      The Port of Hamburg is a top destination for rail services between China and Germany. Since November last year, a new link has become…

    • Rail traffic between China and Hamburg shows positive development
      News

      Hinterland

      11.06.2020

      Rail traffic between China and Hamburg shows positive development

      The People's Republic of China is the most important trading partner of the Port of Hamburg. In 2019 alone, around 2.6 million TEUs were…

    • Face Masks for Hamburg and the Port of Hamburg
      News

      Economy

      05.20.2020

      Face Masks for Hamburg and the Port of Hamburg

      On May 18, Port of Hamburg Marketing received a donation of several thousand protective masks from the government of the Chinese province…

    • New Shandong-Europe Express links China and Hamburg
      News

      Hinterland

      04.30.2020

      New Shandong-Europe Express links China and Hamburg

      China is the Port of Hamburg’s most important trade partner. Hamburg serves as the gateway to Europe for Chinese goods. Along with handling…

    • New service on New Silk Road: for the first time a single waybill for both rail and ferry
      News

      Economy

      11.15.2019

      New service on New Silk Road: for the first time a single waybill for both rail and ferry

      UTLC ERA sends first train from China to Germany via rail and ferry … On Tuesday 12th November, the first goods train from China will…

    • DHL ramps up its rail network and service along the new silk road
      News

      Hinterland

      11.14.2019

      DHL ramps up its rail network and service along the new silk road

      • Three new European Rail Competence Centers in France, Italy, and the UK provide customer service and freight handling between Europe and…

    • Hamburg – European hub for the China Trades
      News

      Economy

      09.10.2019

      Hamburg – European hub for the China Trades

      Hamburg and China have been trading partners by since the 18th century. Hamburg has nurtured a city & port partnership with Shanghai since…

  • New brochure: Hamburg - Gateway to the new silk road

    • New brochure : HAMBURG –GATEWAY TO THE NEW SILK ROAD
      Brochure

      Brochure

      11.22.2020

      New brochure : HAMBURG –GATEWAY TO THE NEW SILK ROAD

      Hamburg serves as the gateway to European markets for Chinese goods.

    • Port of Hamburg Magazine 2.2019 – Hamburg and China
      Brochure

      Brochure

      06.03.2019

      Port of Hamburg Magazine 2.2019 – Hamburg and China

      Port of Hamburg Magazine 2.2019 – Hamburg and China

  • Hamburg - European Hub for the New Silk Road

    05.07.2021
  • Shandong-Europa Express

    04.30.2020

    Senator for Economy, Michael Westhagemann


  • Shandong-Europa Express

    04.30.2020
  • Shandong-Europa Express

    04.30.2020

Port of Hamburg Marketing on Hamburg and the New Silk Road

  • Pan Hua, Head of representative office Shanghai

    The Port of Hamburg has always been one of the most important trade hubs in Europe for Chinese companies. Around a dozen liner services link Hamburg directly with Chinese ports, while the continental railway connections have been improved constantly in the last years. Hamburg is now one of the leading destinations for trains travelling to Europe via the New Silk Road. The Hamburg Liaison Office China located in Shanghai actively supports this development and is available for inquiries from interested companies and organisations

  • Pan Hua

  • Axel Mattern, CEO

    Hamburg is Europe’s leading railway port. Naturally, its excellent position as a transport hub also contributes to all rail connections with China. 100,000 TEU or more have been transported via the New Silk Road between various destinations in the People's Republic and Hamburg in the last years. We see that there is further potential for growth. Hamburg and its logistics companies are in any case prepared to further intensify cooperation with partners and friends from China.

  • Axel Mattern