“In 2020, we expect a volume increase of up to 25 percent for our China trains,” predicts Hans-Joachim Koske, General Manager at a. hartrodt in Hamburg and responsible for the division. Why demand is so high: For more and more shippers under time pressure, rail transport on the New Silk Roads between China and Germany is an affordable alternative to air freight. The transit time between Dalian and Hamburg, for example, is halfed from around 38 days to around 19 days compared with sea freight.
Personal matching solution
“We take the customer by the hand and advise him individually,” Koske explains a unique selling point of a. hartrodt. Sometimes the team has to “play Sherlock Holmes” when all trains are fully booked for the fastest and best option, which can happen on public holidays. Then it takes a lot of manual work to find the right solution, but it always works. “It must pay off for the customer,” emphasizes Koske.
Polaris Train and Sirius Train
On two routes a. hartrodt offers departures on block trains several times a week - the Polaris Train on the northern route via Russia and the Sirius Train on a more southern route via Kazakhstan and Russia. More than 25 destinations in China are directly connected. According to Koske the most popular tracks include western connections between Greater Shanghai and Beijing as well as the provinces of Shaanxi and Henan to Hamburg/Duisburg. Departures to the East from Hamburg/Duisburg to the Shanghai/Peking region are in high demand.
“Most rail connections to transport goods to Southern Germany are via Hamburg. We also offer direct connections to and from Munich,” he says. The Dusseldorf office frequently manages exports from the region via Duisburg to Asia, for example for the automotive industry.
Often last-minute bookings need to be accelerated, then new sea-rail possibilities can be interesting. Transit time is shortened compared to sea freight when short sea services in Asia and Europe are combined with train options.