GERMANY: DHL Global Forwarding has opened a central China Rail Competence Centre in Stuttgart to co-ordinate the growing volumes of freight it is sending from Germany to Asia by rail. This includes shipments for automotive, technology, mechanical engineering and retail customers.

‘Rail freight volumes between Germany and Asia have increased 10-fold in just one year’, according to Volker Oesau, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Germany & Central Europe. ‘In order to meet ever-increasing demand, the onus is on us to grow, optimise processes and create synergies.’

DHL Global Forwarding now offers seven rail services per week that provide 15 connections from Germany to the Far East via Kazakhstan or the trans-Siberian corridor, with links to destinations in China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

The Stuttgart centre co-ordinates multi-modal transport services from collection to delivery, including export and transit formalities, customs clearance and delivery to the end user. Shipment tracking can include temperature information, and tailored security concepts are being developed for ‘very high quality’ goods.

The services benefit from ‘seamless’ transfers at the breaks of gauge, said Oesau, with the introduction of the standardised CIM/SMGS waybill having ‘simplified rail transport procedure and minimised the administrative effort at border crossing points’. The document is recognised by customs authorities and facilitates faster clearance. It can be used for wagonload traffic and intermodal consignments, eliminating the transcription of documents at borders.