Interview: China-Europe Railway Express vitalizes regions along its route, says German expert


The China-Europe Railway Express has injected vitality into Duisburg, a key transportation hub in the Ruhr region of Germany, and has opened up new development opportunities for the countries and cities along its route, a German professor has said.

Bernd Noche, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and head of the Department Transport Systems and Logistics, told Xinhua in a recent interview that Duisburg is emerging as a pivotal hub for connectivity and trade between China and Europe, thanks to the China-Europe Railway Express project, which connects 120 Chinese cities with 219 cities across 25 European countries.

According to data from Duisport, the ownership and management company of the Port of Duisburg, connections between Chinese cities and Duisburg now take between 12 and 18 days for transportation.

Approximately 60 trains arriving on the China-Europe Railway Express reach Duisburg each week, with the goods on the trains subsequently transported to domestic seaports or neighboring countries in Europe.

The China-Europe Railway Express introduces a more balanced mode of transportation, the German professor said. «When we consider railway connections, this is now a unique mode of transport because it is faster than a ship, but lower price than by plane. So, it’s something in between,» he said, adding that there were a lot of goods suitable for rail transportation.

Noche also noted that the «Belt and Road Initiative» has great potential to form a «new Silk Road,» connecting different regions along the route which the China-Europe Railway Express runs.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which the China-Europe Express Rail is a flagship project, was proposed by China in 2013 and aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.

«We want to involve further countries, Kazakhstan, for instance, I think that’s the big chance,» Noche said.

Noche was equally encouraged to discover that many people in Kyrgyzstan had shown their interest in the «Belt and Road Initiative» and were willing to get involved in it, inputting their ideas and providing local goods.

Agricultural products made in Kazakhstan can now be quickly delivered to western Europe or China by train along the China-Europe railway, Noche said.

As an expert on the transportation and logistics industry, Niche has been researching potential development opportunities that the «Belt and Road Initiative» can bring to the countries that are involved in it.

He initiated a project named «Regional Sustainable New Silk Road Initiative» at the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2019 in a bid to explore the possibilities of supporting the development of companies in Duisburg and its neighboring areas, advancing cooperation, as well as promoting innovation and exchanges.

The first phase of the project, participated by 23 organizations, has been completed. Moving forward, Noche and his team are eager to seek more international partners to further propel the project forward, because he views the Belt and Road Initiative as an opportunity for «win-win cooperation and prosperity.»

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