The Royal Scotsman, the Palace on Wheels, and the Orient Express. Each name conjures up images of a great train journey. But perhaps the greatest trip of them all now departs from Zhengzhou – although it won’t be carrying passengers, only cargo. The China Daily reports this week that the new service has commenced between the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou and Germany’s Hamburg. The train will take 18 days to make the 10,214km journey but that is still twice as fast as marine transport. It also costs 80% less than shipping goods by air. The route has been dubbed ‘the New Silk Road’ and will carry goods between Europe and China via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland. Jointly operated by the Chinese and Deutsche Bahn’s DB Schenker, the service is expected to be particularly attractive for German exporters of medical equipment, vehicle parts and construction machinery, according to DB Schenker’s China boss, Karl-Heinz Emberger. “It can save a lot of time and money,” Schenker says, highlighting the increasing interdependence of the two economies. Last year, Sino-German trade volumes hit $189.35 billion.
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