Beijing Hamburgh rail link to cut transit time by half

BEIJING, Jan 10, 2008 (AFP) – China and five other countries have agreed to collaborate on a train service between Asia and Europe that is expected to transport cargo twice as quickly as by sea, Chinese state media said Thursday.

Under an agreement signed on Wednesday by China, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany, the nations will simplify customs and border checks amid a range of ways to minimise the time for trains to cross boundaries, the China Daily said.

“Barring any complications, a scheduled container train should be shuttling between China and Germany in a year’s time,” said Zheng Mingli, chairman of China Railway Container Transport, according to the report.

The route, linking Beijing and Hamburg, is expected to boost trade and cargo flows between the two continents as it should take less than 20 days to transport goods from China to Germany.

In contrast, shipping goods between the two destinations takes about 40 days, the report said.

A demonstration container train carrying a load of Chinese goods, including electrical appliances, clothes, shoes and ceramic tiles, rolled out of Beijing on Wednesday and is expected to arrive in Hamburg in 18 days.

After the train finishes its jour