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The New Silk Road Network (NSRN) is excited to collaborate with our partner duisport – Duisburger Hafen AG on a series of engaging articles that cover various nuances of the port and how it has developed as one of the most central locations in the European and Asian logistics and supply chain. These articles are written with the help of duisport personnel, giving NSRN first-hand information about the different aspects of the company, its history, its functions, and major features that make it a class apart. In the first article of the series, we cover the historical foundations of duisport and its centrality to the China-EU rail services.

(Duisburger Hafen. Pic Credit: duisport Copyright: Hans Blossey )

The port of Duisburg has an extensive history tracing back to 1716; however, the period of the 1920s saw tremendous advances for the region. In the 1920s, the port was predominantly known as a central transshipment area for coal and steel along the Rhine and Ruhr. After recovering from the damages caused by the Second World War, its strategic positioning in the middle of the mining industry transformed it into one of the most important ports that handled coal, iron, mineral, steel, gravel and sand.

Duisburg emerged as a powerhouse for the German mining industry. The port saw a series of developments in the 1980s, beginning the construction of one of the first inland container terminals. In the year 2016, the port celebrated its 300th anniversary. Duisburger Hafen AG is the ownership and management company of the Port of Duisburg. The federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Duisburg respectively own two thirds and one third of the company’s share capital. Together with its subsidiaries, Duisburger Hafen operates as the duisport Group in the global context. Duisport is now a state-of-the-art trimodal logistics hub in the heart of Europe. As the world’s largest inland port, it has successfully grown its capacities every year by coordinating the transport of goods by trucks, barges, and trains.

( Xi Jinping visits Duisburger Hafen. Pic Credit: duisport. Copyright:duisport/Rolf Köppen )

Duisport offers a comprehensive range of logistics services such as shipping containers, general cargo, bulk cargo and even project logistics. It has a robust system of inland waterway transport and short sea shipping. Their end-to-end solutions for container stuffing offer the highest level of safety and handling to their customers. However, what is significant for the New Silk Road Network is to understand the eminence of duisport in developing the China-EU rail services.

Duisport is one of the largest and the most central hub for rail transport along the New Silk Road. More than 20 Asian destinations and commercial centres form direct connections with the port. China inclined their operations towards duisport due to the centrality of their location and vast intermodal transport network in the region, along with the highly functional and efficient infrastructure and facilities. Each week approximately 60 freight trains arrive there, which then move to various other neighbouring countries and ports. The travel time between duisport and China ranges between 12-16 days. The rail connection is significantly faster than sea freight and cheaper than air freight. The rail freight service allows their customers to choose from high-performance operators and logistics suppliers, along with available door-to-door service, container tracking, and strong customer service.

(Increase in rail traffic from 2012 onwards Pic Credit:duisport )

Since the establishment of this service, Duisport has turned the region into a thriving business location for Germany. Serving over 30 million customers, the port has handled a total of 4,2 million TEU of cargo so far. Moreover, per annum, 20,000 ships and 25,000 trains are processed at the port. These staggering numbers have turned it into an effective company that employs over 1600 personnel in the region. Duisport has incontestably defined itself as a strong logistics player in Europe and the world.

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