Increase in Chinese rail traffic boosts duisport container volumes

Increase in Chinese rail traffic boosts duisport container volumes
Rail freight from China was up 70%, Credit: Hans Blossey

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, container handling at duisport grew by 5% last year to 4.2m teu, marking a new record, as rail freight from China increased significantly.

Rail-based freight traffic with China grew by approximately 70% during the past financial year.

As of Q2 2020, there were up to 60 trains a week between Duisburg and various destinations in China, up from 35-40 during the previous year.

Erich Staake, CEO of duisport said: “These increases in the container business are not solely due to pandemic-related catch-up effects. Our strategy of expanding access to additional Chinese destinations as early as April (i.e. during the first lock-down) already paid off particularly in the second half of the year.

“In the meantime, all important logistics hubs in Europe and Asia have become an integral part of our network. We have systematically expanded our position as a preferred destination for eastern European and Asian freight transports into Europe.”

Developments in eastern Europe also had a positive impact, particularly expanded connections to Poland in the trailer business.

With a share of around 55%, container handling is the largest cargo segment while overall, the inland hub handled almost 59m tonnes in the year 2020, representing a 3% drop.

In 2021, the Port of Duisburg will continue its strategy of shifting freight transport, particularly transport from eastern Europe (by truck, tractor-trailers, trailers), from road to rail.

So far, the thus far implemented expansion measures have helped new customers like DSV and Maersk to settle in logport VI.

With regards to the outlook for the year ahead, Staake noted: “Despite these positive developments, we have to maintain a sense of proportion and realism. Since the vaccination strategies in the EU are rolled out much more slowly than in the US or the UK, we will have to expect lower demand and further restrictions with lockdowns for our home market.

“Particularly the logistics sector, which is characterised by small and medium-sized companies, may be negatively affected due to continued uncertainty among consumers. In 2021, the second year of the pandemic, we are still vulnerable to significant uncertainties and certainly not out of the woods yet.”