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Deutsche Bahn to Start Berlin-Beijing Railway Cargo Service

June 2008.

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn AG plans to begin a direct cargo train service between China and Germany within three months, according to media reports. China United International Railway Container Transport (CUIRC), which is 8 per cent owned by Deutsche Bahn, will operate the trains.

The 9,850-kilometre journey between Berlin and Beijing is expected to take 15 days, compared to around 35 days for sea freight, reports Hong Kong Shipping Gazette. Norbert Bensel, head of Deutsche Bahn's logistic operations, was quoted as saying, "The cargo trains can't compete with sea freight, but for express goods or oversize volumes they do make sense." Deutsche Bahn will be partially privatised by the end of the year, and the report said that the German railway operator has been holding talks with Russian counterparts RZD to take stakes in each other, particularly as the Russian railway operator is DB's main partner for the inter-continental connection between China and Germany. The report added that DB initially forecasts annual sales of between EUR10 million (US$15.7 million) and EUR20 million from the rail freight service to China.


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