HHLA rail subsidiary Metrans doubles number of container trains on New Silk Road


Metrans, the rail subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), has increased its number of container trains travelling between Europe and China by 114%.

The intermodal company operated some 913 trains that originated in China in 2020, more than double the 2019 level of 426 trains.

Imports saw growth of 131%, taking transport volumes of Metrans on the ‘New Silk Road’ to around 30,000 TEU.

Rail freight traffic between Asia and Europe has increased significantly in recent years.

Spurred largely by the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in capacity bottlenecks in shipping and air transport, an increasing number of cargo-owners are turning to rail freight transport.

Currently, 60 to 80 Metrans trains per month connect Europe with key economic centres in China: including Zhengzhou, Xi’an and Jinhua.

With partners, Metrans assembles the block trains in China that are taken over by traction operators at the various hubs of the Eurasian rail corridor.

Metrans CEO Peter Kiss commented, “30 years ago we began transporting sea freight containers to the European hinterland. Metrans offered the first regular shuttle train connection between Hamburg and Prague.

“Since this time, our network between European ports and its hinterland has grown every year. Additionally, we are one of the largest providers in the fastest growing market: rail transport between Europe and China.”

According to the estimates of management consultancy Roland Berger, around 878,000 TEU were transported along the various rail corridors of the New Silk Road in 2020.

The International Union of Railways (UIC) assumes this number could double by 2025.

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