On Friday June 30th 2017, the port of Zeebrugge received the first Volvo Cars train from the Chinese province of Heilongjiang. This first train marked the official start of the ‘New Silk Road’, the rail connection between Heilongjiang and Zeebrugge with 4 to 6 departures per week.
The first train arrived at the Wielingendok in the outer port of Zeebrugge. The “China Europe Railway Heilongjiang-Zeebrugge” railway is scheduled to have over 300 departures from Heilongjiang annually. Each train carries approximately 176 containerized VOLVO S90 vehicles from the Geely assembly plant in Daqing to Zeebrugge for further distribution. The vehicles are loaded in containers, carrying three vehicles each. The train is only 20 days en route via Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany.
The port of Zeebrugge’s rail partner for the New Silk Road Heilongjiang-Zeebrugge connection is the Chinese Changjiu Logistics Group. A Memorandum of Understanding between the port of Zeebrugge and Changjiu Logistics Group for the launch of the China Europe Railway was signed the 2nd of June.
Annually, the Volvo Cars trains will bring about 30,000 – 40,000 new VOLVO vehicles to Zeebrugge.
This fast rail connection between our coastal port and China is once again a confirmation of the strong ties between China and Zeebrugge. This project is a strengthening of the automotive sector in our port, but there are also Chinese interests in the container sector: APM Terminals Zeebrugge (Shanghai International Port Group: 25%) (COSCO Shipping Ports: 23.99%). For the New Silk Road Platform, we have agreements with China Minmetals Corporation and China COSCO Shipping Corporation. We also recently signed an understanding with China Development Bank, who have engaged to offer financial aid to Chinese exporting companies who wish to set up a distribution centre here in Zeebrugge. - Joachim Coens, gedelegeerd bestuurder MBZ nv